A legislator from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) says Kashmiri leaders on the either side of the Line of Control should work together to solve the vexed Kashmir issue.
Seed Showkat Ali, a Muslim Conference MLA from the Jhelum constituency in PoK and on his maiden trip to Jammu and Kashmir, said, "The leadership of Kashmir on both sides of the LoC should join hands, deliberate on the issue and resolve the crisis that has been plaguing the Kashmiri people for decades."
Ali, who travelled to Jammu and Kashmir on Monday via Chakan-da-Bagh Point on the Poonch-Rawalkote route, called for building trust and bringing down "all the barriers of distrust that stand between the two sides in the form of the LoC". He is visiting the state as a guest of National Conference leader and MLA Mian Altaf.
He said there was still a lot of distrust of each other on both sides of the LoC. "I had applied for travel to this part of Kashmir on the first bus in March 2005, but I have been given permission only now and that too through the Rawalkote-Poonch route (which opened on June 20 this year)," he said.
Ali said a solution to the Kashmir problem could not be reached unless there was mutual trust between the people and leaders on both sides of the LoC, adding that the only way to build this trust was through exchange of ideas in a free and frank manner.
"India and Pakistan are talking. That is a good sign. But it must percolate down to the people and leadership of the region for which the whole exercise is on," he said.
Ali said PoK Prime Minister Sardar Attique Khan also strogly believed that there should be dialogue at every level. "He (Khan) wants talks (dialogue at all levels) so that something (options) emerges. These can then be placed on table and whichever is the best suited to one and all should be picked up," the legislator said.