In a surprise move, the Director Generals of Military Operations of both countries held discussions over hotline and decided in the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders.
The political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have for the first time in the last 18 months — after removing Article 370 and ending the statehood — welcomed the agreement between India and Pakistan to work for truce on the otherwise volatile boundary. India and Pakistan agreed to a “strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors” with effect from midnight of February 24-25.
What surprised many commentators in New Delhi and Islamabad was a rare and unexpected joint statement which said, the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMO) of both countries held discussions over the established hotline and decided in the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders. A statement said the two DGMOs have agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have the propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.
“The two sides reviewed the situation along the LoC and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere”, the statement said, adding that both sides reiterated that “existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings will be utilised to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding”.
Immediately as the news broke, Kashmir mainstream and separatist parties reacted with optimism and hoped that the “new chapter of engagement between India and Pakistan will lead to peace in the sub-continent.”
People’s Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “A big & welcome development that India & Pakistan have agreed to a ceasefire along the LoC. Dialogue is the only way forward if both countries want to stop the unending cycle of violence & bloodshed across the borders and J&K.”
National Conference supremo Farooq Abdullah too welcomed the agreement between the two military officials to observe ceasefire alongside the border and LoC, saying the measure will instill sustainable peace between the two neighboring countries.
“The agreement will go a long way in ushering long lasting peace alongside LoC, and IB,” he said, adding that NC always advocated Indo-Pak peace. “It is the people of Jammu and Kashmir that have been facing the brunt of escalating tensions alongside the borders. I hope the agreement is followed in letter and spirit,” noted J&K’s senior most leader who heads the Gupkar Alliance, a grouping of formidable Kashmir mainstream parties.
The former three-time chief minister said that the profound negative impact of the animosity between the two neighboring countries was faced by the people who lived alongside the border on LoC, IB.
Abdullah said the end of the hostilities will help both the countries concentrate more on their respective population’s wellbeing. “I hope the development won’t go down as short-lived flutter but increases the possibility of some forward advancement towards the resolution of all impending issues lingering between the two neighboring nations,” he told a local wire service. “We welcome the agreement and hope that the statement will be followed in letter & spirit. JKNC has always been a strong supporter of the ceasefire along the LoC. This will allow people living along the LoC and IB to go about their normal lives with minimal disruption and risk,” NC spokesman Imran Nabi Dar added.
Coming out of its hibernation, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference said that it is a move in the right direction, which will provide huge relief to the beleaguered people living under constant threat on the LoC and end the bloodshed there. A statement of the Hurriyat Conference said just as the joint statement correctly points out “that in the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGMOs agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb the peace and lead to violence”, likewise, in the interest of mutually beneficial and sustainable peace in the entire region, governments of India and Pakistan need to address the core concern of J&K in keeping with the aspirations of its people, which is the cause of conflict and violence in the region.
APHC said that talks are the best means to address this concern and “we have always advocated it”.
The Altaf Bukhari-led Apni Party said the decision reached between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control has provided a sigh of relief for the inhabitants of districts of J&K.
“Until now much of the life and property have been lost to the ceasefire violations in border areas, be it in Uri, Karnah, Nowshera, Poonch, Gurez or any other frontier areas of J&K. The continuous threat of shelling and firing has always created a perpetual atmosphere of fear and uncertainty,” said Raja Manzoor, a leader of Apni Party from frontier Kupwara.
“It can be now expected that the inhabitants of border areas will return to their homes and live a normal life.” A resident from Uri’s Salamabad area told news18.com that they are excited to hear about the truce. “We hope the troops of the two countries live by this and hold on the fire. We want to lead a normal life,” he said.