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Published in the 1-15 July 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Amnesty sought for detenus in Kashmir

Islamabad: The Joint Committee on Kashmir appointed by the Pakistan-India People's Forum has recommended the release of all prisoners held without charge and the declaration of a general amnesty for all those held in detention under special laws, civil or military detention laws or without trial.

At its meeting in Lahore today, the Committee also favoured free movement of people of Kashmir on either side of the border without requirement of passport or visa and rapid reduction in the size and presence of troops throughout the `former' state.

Tapan Bose, Pushpa Bhave, Sumit Chakravarty and Amit Chakravarty attended the meeting from India. Anees Haroon, Abdul Majeed Malik, Haji Mohammad Adeel, Farooq Niazi, Munir Hussain, Shahid Fiaz Kishwar Naheed and Mubashir Hasan represented Pakistan.

The Committee has been asked to facilitate a dialogue between the people from both sides of the LoC and interact with all organisations involved in the efforts to achieve peace and democratic resolution of the Kashmir issue.

It deliberated in the light of the stand of the Forum that Kashmir not merely being a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, a peaceful democratic solution in accordance with the aspirations of all the peoples of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir has to be achieved.

It recommended that there was need to mobilise, besides political parties, activists in the civil society, especially among the groups such as Bar Councils, Bar associations of districts, teachers, human rights organisations, women, chambers of commerce and industry, labour unions, youth and others.

The panel demanded that the judicial process provided in the laws should be activated for all other Kashmiris who are in custody in Kashmir, India or Pakistan and tribunals to investigate missing persons set up. (The Hindu, June 21, 2004)

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