We, the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control & supporters of peace in the region, have been observing with great concern the escalation of tensions at the Line of Control (LoC) that have been building up gradually and have suddenly taken an ugly turn in recent weeks.
We express grave concern at the loss of lives of the soldiers and any casualties to civilians on both the sides. At the same time, we are also concerned about the safety and security of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the people living with the close vicinity of the LoC, who are directly hit by sporadic incidents of shelling and firing.
These repeated violations of the ceasefire that has been in place as part of an agreement between India and Pakistan since 2003 have been adversely affecting the lives of the people in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, there is a potential danger of reversing the gains of this biggest confidence building measure that has enabled and facilitated interactions, howsoever symbolic, between the two sides of the divided State, provided security and a conducive atmosphere for much needed development for the people living in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, these tensions threaten the very framework of peace for which a 10 year long ceasefire at the LoC has been a great bulwark, even though the pace of peace process has been so far tardy and does not fully engages with the people of this State.
We fear that if these tensions at the LoC are allowed to prolong, they will compromise the goodwill that has been built and reverse the peace dividends. We also fear that they will cause massive sufferings to the people of not just the border areas, but eventually of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, on both sides. Besides, they will provide a greater space to extremist, hawkish and fanatic elements as well as empower the war mongers on both sides. They also have the potential of ushering the whole region into a new war destroying hopes of long term peace and economic stability.
We deplore the war rhetoric and attempts by political or religious groups for symbolism of Kashmir to justify war mongering and hatred.
At the same time, we call for an immediate end to the hostilities on the Line of Control. We call upon the political leadership in New Delhi and Islamabad to impress upon their respective militaries to immediately desist from this continuum of shelling and firing incidents. We also call upon them to initiate action to begin immediate dialogue for a more long term end to these ongoing tensions, to restore the sanctity of the ceasefire that has been in place since 2003 by replacing strategic insecurities of the two militaries with mutual trust and co-operation.