Cross-LoC trade suspended for short-term gains: Mirwaiz

The chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Friday expressed serious concern over the government of India’s decision to suspend cross-LoC trade with Pakistan via Jammu and Kashmir, stating that “whatever little good was achieved” in the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure was being “done away with”.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs Thursday ordered suspension of cross-Line of Control trade via Salamabad and Chakan-da-Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir following reports of alleged misuse of the trade routes by Pakistan-based elements for illegal inflow of narcotics, weapons and currency, according to officials.

Addressing a Friday gathering at Jamia Masjid here, Mirwaiz, while commenting on the suspension of LoC trade, said it’s extremely unfortunate that instead of enhancing the people-to-people contact and improving the trade and other ties, “whatever little had been achieved since (former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure was being done away with and scrapped”.

“Such measures for short-term gains come at a huge price for the people,” he said.

Mirwaiz said that he has time and again reiterated that Kashmir issue has been a bone of contention between the two countries for the past 70 years.  “But all the successive regimes that ruled India and Pakistan so far have failed to resolve this contentious issue,” he said.

The people of Kashmir are facing tremendous hardships for the past seven decades in general and 30 years in particular, hoping that “some serious efforts would be made to resolve the issue so that peace prevails in the region”, the Kashmir’s chief cleric said.

By largely staying away from the electoral process (Lok Sabha polls), the people of Kashmir have peacefully conveyed that they want a serious political initiative which shall lead to the resolution of the vexed Kashmir issue, he said.

“The people and the Hurriyat leadership will support all initiatives that are aimed at addressing the core issue,” Mirwaiz said.

“It’s not that people of Kashmir don’t believe in democratic practices that electoral processes entail, but they want to understand for what they are participating in such a process? Has it any way changed anything on ground for them? Has it helped in ending the uncertainty in their lives? Has our true situation ever been conveyed to the people in India or any effort made in that direction?” he asked.

Mirwaiz alleged that “repressive measures” are increasing and cited the national highway closure for two days a week, frequent internet bans, “warnings” to government employees and crackdown on political and religious organisations to make his point.

“Every other day, people from different segments of the society are being issued summons by the investigating agencies,” he said. “Government of India has to, at the end of the day, talk to Pakistan and Kashmiris and settle the Kashmir issue once and for all”.