Cross-LoC travel in jeopardy
Army Extra-Cautious Due To Exchange Of Fire Along Borders: Deputy Commissioner
Srinagar, June 23: Day after the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said that guests coming from Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) were being treated like “prisoners of war” near Kaman Post in Uri sector of north Kashmir, authorities on Saturday said that the force personnel deployed on the Line of Control are “extra-cautious” due to exchange of fire between Indo-Pak troopers in Poonch sector.
Talking to Greater Kashmir Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Ghulam Ahmed Khawaja said; “Civilian movement near LoC has been restricted due to Indo-Pak armies exchanging fire in Poonch and Rawalakote sectors of Jammu region for the past few days. The ceasefire violation in that sector has made soldiers alert on this side.”
He said that Kaman Post area was under Army’s control and there was no direct interference of the civilian authorities. “Kaman Post doesn’t fall within the Police jurisdiction. The travel documents of the people coming from PaK or going there are scrutinized by the Passport Officer. Giving permit to people who want to travel to other side is taken care of by the Passport Office and local administration has got nothing to do with it,” he added.
The Deputy Commissioner said that guests coming from other side have to undergo checks for “security reasons.”
Army’s Srinagar based spokesman Lt Col J S Brar said that soldiers deployed near the LoC are doing their job. “We are doing what we are mandated to do,” Brar said.
PDP spokesman Naeem Akthar said that cross-LoC travel was an idea. “It was peoples’ initiative which was pushed forward by then Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in 2005,” he said. “It was decided that hassles associated with the cross-LoC travel will be removed with the passage of time. However, the initiative taken by then PDP led government has got stagnated.”
He said that foreign ministers of India and Pakistan during their last meeting had decided to broaden the spectrum of the cross-LoC travel by allowing people other than divided families avail this facility. “Nothing seems to be moving. In fact with each passing day cross-LoC travel is becoming more and more complicated. All the announcements have remained confined to papers only,” he said.
Akthar expressed dismay over guests coming from PaK facing hardships at Kaman Post on LoC. “It is condemnable. We demand that guests coming from other side be handled by local administration and not the army. The PDP had a vision that cross-LoC travel would be one day handled by the Deputy Commissioners on both the sides, but it doesn’t seem to be happening,” he said.
The spokesman of ruling National Conference Tanvir Sadiq said that Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, was trying his best to facilitate cross-LoC travel in an easier way. “National Conference has always advocated reopening of all traditional routes connecting Kashmir with rest of the world,” he said.
Sadiq said the government is trying its best to ensure that guests coming from the other side don’t face any problems. “NC has always reiterated that people-to-people contact is must for the resolution of the Kashmir issue,” he said.
Reacting to Mirwaiz’s statement that cross-LoC travelers were being treated as “prisoners of war” he said, “People are happy and officers deployed there are ensuring that they don’t face any problems.”
Pertinently, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Friday castigated the government for “making cross-LoC travel difficult,” and treating guests arriving from PaK “shabbily.”
“They have to undergo various security checks and frisking near the LoC and face lot of humiliation at the hands of security personnel deployed there,” Mirwaiz had said. “They are treated like prisoners of war.”
He had expressed dismay over central agencies monitoring the cross-LoC travel in Kashmir. “This was the only CBM which was Kashmir-centric. It was aimed at bridging the gap between the people. Initially it was agreed that local officials from both the sides will facilitate the cross LoC travel,” he had said. “Cross LoC travel in PaK is handled by the local officials whereas in Kashmir central agencies, including Passport Office, are directly involved in facilitating the travel.”
Lastupdate on : Sat, 23 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 23 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 24 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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