ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq urged India on Tuesday to withdraw troops from the disputed Himalayan region to promote the peace process with Pakistan.
The time has come to withdraw troops from Kashmir Valley, the Mirwaiz told a joint news conference Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in Islamabad. You [India and Pakistan] cannot come closer until the issue of Kashmir is resolved.
Imran, who has invited the APHC leader and a seven-member delegation to Islamabad, endorsed the idea of troop pullout from Indian-administered Kashmir.
Demilitarisation is the only way to restore peace in Kashmir, said the PTI chief. The Kashmir issue has not been resolved because Pakistan and India lack powerful leaderships.
According to the Mirwaiz, the Indian government also realises that military presence is not the solution to the Kashmir conundrum.
We hope India will show flexibility on the issue, that Indian political leadership will consider the voice of hundreds and thousands of people taking to the streets against its military aggression in Kashmir, he said, comparing the recent upsurge in Kashmir protests with the Arab Spring.
The APHC chief said both nuclear neighbours could no longer make big decisions without taking the Kashmiri leadership into confidence.
Steps like granting the most favoured nation status to India, implementation of a liberal visa regime, and opening of more border crossings, will remain partially ineffective until both countries seek the consent of the Kashmiri people, he added.
During the press conference, the Mirwaiz evaded a question about the stance of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the chairman of a hard-line faction of APHC.
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