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Dulat welcomes ceasefire proposal, questions Pak silence on it

Srinagar, May 11: Former Raw Chief Amarjeet Singh Dulat while terming the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s call for Ramzan ceasefire a welcome move, Friday said Pakistan must take a lead and clear its position as a major responsibility lies on the neighboring country for making the call a “grand success.”

Dulat also said the leaders like Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq should make a fervent appeal to the stone pelters hitting streets, to give peace a chance and to refrain from attacking forces.

Dulat, who spoke to Kashmir News Service, said: “Unilateral Ceasefire proposal from the Jammu and Kashmir government is a welcome step, but let Pakistan respond and clear its position. I think government can’t announce a ceasefire while attacks by militants on security forces continue. Even the Army Chief has said that he is “ready to suspend” military operations to avoid civilian casualties, but who will guarantee that there won’t be fire at forces and their vehicles.” he maintained.

Dulat said that the unilateral ceasefire was also declared by the then Prime Minister Vajpayee in 2000. “Though the ceasefire was declared only for Ramzan, it was extended for the next few months. I believe it cannot be accepted that the government will announce a ceasefire and militants continue attacks on our security forces,” the former RAW chief said.

He however said that the ceasefire may be a better option to tackle the local sentiment and anger that is pushing local Kashmiris to militancy despite the ‘successes in anti-militancy operations.

He further said that it is unfortunate that stone pelters are hitting streets daily and pelt stones. “Even I have seen students and girls are coming out on the streets to pelt stones. I think they are spoiling Kashmir,” he maintained.

He further said that the Hurriyat leaders like Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq should make a fervent appeal to the stone pelters to give peace a chance and to refrain from attacking forces.

Dulat has worked in Kashmir for several years having served as the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) special director in Srinagar during former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure. Not only did he supervise the intelligence network during this period, but he was also advisor on Kashmir in the PMO during Vajpayee’s tenure.

His book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years had created a lot of ripples as he became one of the few members of the Indian security and intelligence community to advocate a reduced military presence in Kashmir and to argue the need for India to build confidence amongst Kashmiris through humanitarian measures.

It is to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that she will ask the Centre to consider Ramzan ceasefire in the Valley as was done by Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000.

Speaking to reporters after an all-party meeting convened by the PDP-BJP government over the security situation in the Valley, Mehbooba had said, “Everyone agreed that we must appeal to Centre that it must think about a unilateral ceasefire like Vajpayee ji did in 2000. Encounters, crackdowns are causing trouble to common man. Efforts must be made to maintain environment so that both Eid and Amarnath Yatra are peaceful.” She had said.

She had said that everyone present at the meeting was in agreement that if agenda of alliance between BJP and PDP is followed, then situation in J&K can be changed.

However according to one of the National News Papers, Senior BJP leader and the Deputy Chief Minister of the state Kavinder Gupta has said that during Wednesday’s all-party meeting, leaders had suggested a ceasefire but there was no consensus.(KNS)