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Call for cessation of hostilities along LoC

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, APRIL 8. The Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) has demanded an immediate resumption of dialogue at the highest level, reversal of military build-ups and the pursuit of horizontal and vertical de-nuclearisation, apart from a comprehensive no-war pact between the two countries.

The fifth joint convention of the forum, which ended here today, urged the two Governments to order cessation of hostilities along the Line of Control.

The 13-point declaration avoided calling for a plebiscite or referendum on Kashmir. Instead it merely made out a case for making the people of Kashmir central to the issue, and allowing them to articulate their aspirations.

At the press conference the PIPFPD India president, Admiral L. Ramdas, and his Pakistani counterpart, Mr. I.A. Rahman, called for efforts on both sides to persuade the militant organisations in Jammu and Kashmir to shun violence.

The release of political detenus held in Indian prisons would create an opening for the people of J&K to decide on their future in a democratic manner, they said.

Making a demand for a cut in defence spending by both countries, the forum also called for effective steps towards internal demilitarisation and, in the interim, a complete roll back of the nuclear weapons and delivery systems programmes, a no first-use agreement, specific commitment to the CTBT, rejoining the discussions on FMCT and moving towards the declaration of South Asia a nuclear-free zone.

The forum called for a rewriting of the protocol to allow people of the two countries to travel freely.

It also wanted a mutual granting of ``most favoured nation'' status, the forging of a common strategy to share appropriate and small technologies, water management and distribution issues addressed on a regional basis, and the forging of a common strategy to tackle environmental degradation of common ecological regions, apart from evolving joint strategies on multilateral negotiations such as WTO.

The two Governments were also asked to ensure popular participation through decentralisation and devolution of power to the grass roots with adequate safeguards and immediate steps for the realisation of women's basic rights and their legitimate aspirations.

The forum would review the situation three months hence, and would, meanwhile, initiate steps in the two countries through working groups to implement the resolutions passed today, they added.

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