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'India must announce unilateral ceasefire'

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
March 25, 2006 01:52 IST
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The biggest confidence building measure on Kashmir will be the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire by the Indian government, All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Omer Farooq said on Friday.

Talking to the media in Srinagar, Farooq said if India made such an announcement, the APHC leaders will try their best to persuade the various militant groups to come to the negotiation table to find a lasting solution to the vexed Kashmir problem.

"India, as the bigger player in the region, must declare a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir. That would be the biggest CBM concerning Kashmir," he said.

He earlier presided over a large Friday congregation at the Jamia Mosque in downtown Srinagar.

He is scheduled to leave for Delhi on his way to Karachi to attend a conference on Kashmir.

When asked whether the various militant groups will respond if the Indian government made a unilateral ceasefire announcement, Farooq said, "We would do our best to persuade them."

The Mirwaiz said, so far, the only CBM taken on Kashmir had been the starting of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus Service.

"But, the procedure is so tedious and difficult that most people prefer to go to the other side of divided Kashmir via the Wagah border. That is the reason this bus service is on the verge of closing down," he said.

He also welcomed the inauguration of the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib service. "India and Pakistan must open all the routes between the two parts of divided Kashmir."


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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar