Shutdown in IOK against NIA raids, arrests

Pak, India urged to de-escalate tension

Srinagar, February 28 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, complete shutdown was observed on the second consecutive day, today, against the raids by India’s National Investigation Agency on the residences of Hurriyat leaders and activists, the ongoing mass arrests and possible tinkering with the Article 35-A of the Indian constitution.

Call for the strike was given by the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. All shops, other business establishments and government and private offices were closed, while public transport was off the roads all across the Valley and Banihal, Samba and many other areas of Jammu region. Indian troops were deployed in strength in Srinagar and other parts of the territory. Mobile internet speed was reduced in the territory.

The Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Gilani in a statement issued in Srinagar, today, expressed his serious concern over the escalating tension between India and Pakistan, saying that if not checked a full-fledged war was knocking the doors of the South Asian region. He hailed the mature and repeated peace appeals by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and said that such statements could only come from a person with human heart.

The Chairman of Hurriyat forum, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a statement issued in Srinagar urged India and Pakistan to de-escalate tension saying that war was not a solution to the problems. He said that the present dispensation in New Delhi was using Kashmir as a whipping boy for political gains in the upcoming general elections in India. Mirwaiz made it clear to the Indian rulers that the people of Jammu and Kashmir would defend Article 35A, at all costs. He added that the assault on Kashmiris’ identity and disputed status would not be tolerated.

The Chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai in a statement asked for settlement of the Kashmir dispute by peaceful and political means. In response to the US President, Donald Trump’s statement, Sehrai urged Washington to play a critical role in not only de-escalating tension between Pakistan and India but also in resolving Kashmir dispute. He pointed out that the unresolved Kashmir dispute posed a great threat to peace and stability in the region.

The President of Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organization, Mohammad Azmi Abdul Hamid, in a statement said that the prevailing crisis in the disputed occupied Jammu and Kashmir was the fundamental cause of unending tension between Pakistan and India. He urged India to heed the call of Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, for dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.

The members of Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy in a joint statement in Lahore and Delhi while strongly condemning the violation of the Line of Control by India stressed the governments of India and Pakistan to initiate meaningful dialogue involving Kashmiri leadership to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

The widow of an Indian soldier, Bablu Santra, killed in Pulwama incident, in a media interview in Kolktata urged both India and Pakistan to hold talks instead of escalating tensions. She was not worried about criticism on social media over her anti-war stand and added that dialogue should be a given chance to avert loss of more lives.

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