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LAHORE: Peace lovers have expressed concern at the recent tensions between Pakistan and India on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and appealed to the governments of both the countries to refrain from creating an atmosphere of war in the region.

In a joint declaration issued [by Safma, Pakistan] at the 24th Hind-Pak Friendship Festival organised by the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch; Folklore Research Academy, Amritsar; Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy; Aagaz-e-Dosti; Safma and Punjab Jagrati Manch Jalandhar on Wednesday, they said the governments should create amicable environment to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and other bilateral issues peacefully through mutual dialogue.

The communiqué issued on behalf of Ramesh Yadav, president of Folklore Research Academy, Amritsar and Satnam Singh Manak, general secretary of Hind-Pak Dosti Manch, Jalandhar, said since both the countries are nuclear powers and if unfortunately there is a war between the two countries and either of the two resorts to use nuclear weapons, it shall lead to huge destruction in the area.

They also called for withdrawal of the restrictions imposed on road, rail and air links and on mutual trade.

Expressing concern over the abolition of Article 370 in J&K and dividing it into two union territories, they appealed to New Delhi to reconsider the decision, release all the Kashmiri leaders, roll back the restrictions imposed on press and other people and start a dialogue with leadership of the political parties of the state to win confidence of the Kashmiris, and taking any next step on the J&K after consulting them.

They also urged Islamabad and New Delhi that in view of the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji in November both the countries should ensure transportation of people on both sides of the border without any hindrance to facilitate befitting celebrations at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

They also called for reviving the Saarc platform to promote political, economic and cultural ties among the member countries.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019