Kashmiris hope Mumbai attack won’t derail India-Pakistan peace process

November 28th, 2008 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Nov 28 (IANS) Politicians, businessmen and intellectuals in Jammu and Kashmir say the Mumbai attack should not be allowed to derail the peace process between India and Pakistan and both the countries have to fight the scourge of terrorism together.”The Mumbai attack in which innocent lives have been lost is most condemnable. These are reprehensible acts of terror against humanity,” Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, patron of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former chief minister, told IANS on telephone from Srinagar.

On whether it would have an impact on the India-Pakistan peace process, he said: “It might have a temporary effect but I do not see any long term impact. We must understand that India and Pakistan have to live together and fight terrorism together. Even Pakistan is facing the same kind of terrorism.”

He felt that India and Pakistan would stand to benefit if they fought terrorism jointly.

Farooq Abdullah, the patron of the National Conference and former chief minister, also condemned the Mumbai attack in strong words.

“I feel this was planned and executed by those groups that do not want India and Pakistan to come closer. I think a Security Council meeting be called on this where both India and Pakistan, besides other major countries, should talk it out,” Abdullah told IANS.

He said though there would be some short term effect on the peace process, “it will be able to sustain in the long term”.

Perhaps their words come none to soon. Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has already said the terrorists had links with Pakistan but said he could not give any details because investigations were still on.

The militants attacked prominent landmarks in Mumbai Wednesday night and continued their assault well into Friday.

Apprehensions about the future of the peace process have been raised as ties between the two countries were snapped after the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, which India blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists.

Ties between the two countries have improved greatly since then.

A business delegation from Jammu and Kashmir was scheduled to visit Muzaffarabad to take forward talks on trade across the Line Of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

“We are worried about its future now after these attacks in Mumbai. But we all want this visit to go on as planned,” said Ram Sahai, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Jammu.

“The continued involvement of both sides in such times of crisis is a must to fight terrorism together. I am sure my friends across the LoC in Pakistan will not be happy over such terrorist attacks.”

Rekha Choudhary, a political expert from Jammu University, said: “We must keep in mind that Pakistan itself is now a victim of terrorism. Both India and Pakistan have to cooperate with each other and devise strategies to fight terrorism jointly.”

She said that such acts should not have any effect on cross-LoC coinfidence building measures “as terrorists are now using sea routes and this (Mumbai attack) is part of that global terrorism unleashed by the Al Qaeda.”

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