Poonch residents ask for Centre's help for peace along LOC



New Delhi: Chairman of the National Commission on Minorities, Wajahat Habibullah, has said that the people of the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir have sent him a petition seeking the Centre's intervention to ensure peace along the Line of Control.

Speaking in the "War and Peace" programme of Doordarshan News, Habibullah said "the people of Poonch district, through somebody, have sent me a petition" after the recent incidents of violence along the LoC.

"I was a Deputy Commissioner of the district many years ago ?- from 1973 to 1977 -- (so) they sent me a petition appealing to the Government of India and of course with a copy to Pakistan, that peace (should) continue to be observed along the LoC because otherwise (their) lives will be destroyed," he said.

He went on to explain that those who have been living near the LoC feel that peace and trade and commerce they have been able to enjoy after the 2003 ceasefire with Pakistan, should be maintained, said a release issued by the DD News.

Habibullah said, the people of Poonch "fear that recent incidents might have disrupted that (status quo), that is something which is of grave apprehension."

Asked whether the worst was over in Jammu and Kashmir, Habibullah said, "since the time when militancy was in in full swing and even early year of this century, there has been a sea change."

He said what was striking was that there was not only a huge entry of usual tourists but winter tourism had also picked up momentum in the state.

PTI