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Kashmir Troop reduction, AFSPA revocation 'will work wonders'

Srinagar Feb 25, 2007 (Kashmir Newz Desk):

Reiterating the demand for troop reduction and revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir, The President of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti, today said the action would have 'exceptionally positive impact on the fast changing ground situation in the state'.

"To mark the beginning for getting out of the messy static situation we are in for the past 17 years, only such tangible measures would make a difference to the life in Kashmir and provide a visible breakthrough on the ground," Mufti said at the PDP workers' convention of district Srinagar at party headquarters here this morning.

Mufti said PDP's demand for troop reduction and withdrawal of AFSPA was vital to level the ground for the real and substantial forward movement in the ongoing peace process.

"These measures should not be viewed in isolation, as unless practical initiatives are taken to address the situation on the ground, the Confidence Building Measures will have no meaning for the people of Jammu & Kashmir, who are the worst victims of the conflict," she said.

Mufti also critised her opponents for 'politicising' the issue and asked them to move out of the 'glacial mindsets and stop opposing for the sake of opposition'.

"The quarters with obstructionist and egoistic mindset who are trying to politicize the issue, unfortunately, are not doing any favor either to the country or to the people of the state," she said.

Instead, she said, they should strengthen the resolve of the country's leadership to allow the dream of peace with dignity to take shape in Jammu & Kashmir.

Reminding that Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh had himself taken the initiative for troop reduction in November 2004, Ms Mufti said Dr Singh at a public meeting in Srinagar while announcing to reduce the number of troops deployed in Jammu & Kashmir for internal security had made it clear that if the conditions improve "there would be further reduction of troops."

"If the situation was conducive in 2004 for reduction of troops, what went wrong since then" she asked.

"We can't wait for the last gun to fall silent," she said.

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