Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday asked both India and Pakistan to demilitarise the Line of Control (LoC) and expressed concern over deteriorating relations between the two countries.
"The recent flare up on the LoC between India and Pakistan has the potential to harm the improving relations between the two countries," said Mirwaiz while addressing a gathering in Srinagar.
Mirwaiz, also a head priest, asked both the countries "to demilitarise the borders and ensure the safety of Kashmiris living along the LoC on both sides of the divided Kashmir."
Mirwaiz's statement has come just a day after the killing of five army personnel in Poonch district of Jammu threatened the Indo-Pak talks with relations going down the hill again.
"The killing of Indian or Pakistani soldiers during border tension has always remained a cause of concern. People of Kashmir repeatedly stressed upon both the nations to solve Kashmir issue to stop the wastage of lives on both sides of the LoC," he said.
He said the Kashmiris are the worst victims of tense relations between India and Pakistan. "We hope both countries would show political prudence and would take appropriate measures to normalise their relations," he said.
The Hurriyat leader said the reports of four herb collectors being labelled as militants and killed by the army along the LoC in Machil sector in a fake encounter is highly concerning and condemnable. "An immediate impartial inquiry into the incident should be started," he said.
The Hurriyat chairman reiterated that a conducive atmosphere was needed to solve the Kashmir issue. "Till the basic issue of Kashmir is not solved, all other steps to stabilise the relations would prove to be a futile exercise," he warned.
He claimed that the two countries cannot make any progress on trade relations, water, Sir Creek and Siachen issues until Kashmir issue is not resolved. "A lasting solution of Kashmir issue would create a conducive atmosphere for addressing other problems," he said.