Should the Kashmir Line of Control be opened up between India and Pakistan?
President Pervez Musharraf has offered to open the Line of Control dividing Kashmir to help families find loved ones after last week's earthquake.
Speaking in Muzaffarabad, the Pakistan leader has urged India to agree to the plan.
More than 40,000 people have been confirmed dead but officials in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir say the toll could be as high as 54,000.
What do you think of President Musharraf's offer? Are you in the areas affected? Or do you know anybody who is? Send us your comments and experiences.
This debate is now closed. Please read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
I strongly favour the opening of so called LoC. In this hour of need, what ever help possible should reach the unfortunate Kashmiris. Politicians who made the division should not be left to interfere in the lives of people. If Indians are not allowed to undertake any relief efforts, at least let the fellow Kashmiris help each other.
R Matheswaran, Kallavi, Dharmapuri, Tamilnadu, India
Yes, LOC should have been opened the day severity of the disaster was known. Lives would have been saved had the offer of choppers from India been accepted by Pakistan. The issue of 'sensitivities' is nothing but false ego. Humanity and saving lives was more vital than excuses like strategic reasons etc are a mockery in this high tech age.
Mir Hasan, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
The Kashmir Line of Control should become an open border so as to permit relief teams to operate from India as well from within Pakistan, anyone against such a move should seriously consider the plight of those stuck with shelter, food or medical assistance and put petty nationalistic arguments aside.
John, Birmingham UK
India should accept the offer, relief doesn't only mean survival. This could be one of the best, among relief efforts. Right now we shouldn't be thinking about politics, and even if we do, this could be proven to be a major step towards India Pakistan disputes resolutions.
Haris, Islamabad, Pakistan
Of course, it is a good suggestion by President Musharraf to open the LOC so to help scores of suffering people on both sides. I also cannot see why the Indian army personnel and equipments like helicopters and tents already deployed in the area to guard the border are instead directed to rebuild homes and provide supplies to the affected areas in Pakistan. After all, for the vulnerable people, prompt medical aid, basic amenities to support life and shelter are more important at this stage than where they are coming from or who is bringing it to them, isn't it?
Kishor Choudhari, Mumbai/Belfast, India/UK
This is no time for politics. Opening up the LOC will allow the divided families to meet their loved ones particularly after what they have gone through. This will go a long way in finding peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem - unfortunately a British legacy.
Nisar Maher, Karachi, Pakistan
Let us just say that "all human beings are rational creatures"; and thus, no rational leader would just let an arch enemy into its territory, "hoping" that it won't take advantage of its vulnerability. It defies logic. This may go a long way in explaining why the borders are being opened but troops not being brought in from India, and Indian army personnel are not being allowed to fly over Pakistani territory.
Basil Nabi Malik, Karachi, Pakistan.
I think that Musharraf's offer is a good one. Right now do borders really mean anything? When you have brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and other relatives scattered on both sides of controlled Kashmir. Good willing the adequate amount of aid and help will be available to them.
Hassan Amidhozour, Tehran, Iran
Pakistan offered its help to India during the Tsunami, India told the world it didn't need help, Pakistan has been open about what it needs and has shown the world that its people know when there's a time for politics and when there are more important things. Thanks President Musharraf for showing the ignorant masses how it should be done.
Considering the sensitivity of the region, I think it would be a big mistake to open the borders. Both Pakistan and Indian would be risking the possibility of spying. Besides Pakistan is already suffering from limited resources and insufficient supplies, and allowing more people in that region would make it overwhelming, something the locals can't cope with.
Malik Dawood, Toronto, Canada
I believe that it is a good move on the part of Pakistan, but may not yield considerable results. Even at this moment India is trying to gain political mileage out of the situation by continuously trying to show to the world as if Pakistan was refusing help to its own people and they cared. They keep saying that we wont let Indian soldiers into Kashmir to help. All i have to say to this is, would they allow us to come into held Kashmir?
Farjad Tanweer, Lahore, Pakistan
No the LoC should not be opened without adequate monitoring from the Indian side. Letting families look up loved ones is all right, but when militants take this opportunity to attack security personnel (as they have done recently), then the cons outweigh the pros.
Aruni Mukherjee, Coventry, UK
Opening the LOC is a very big step for both countries. It seems a natural calamity was what was needed to spur Pakistan and India into action instead of simply holding peace talks. These steps by the respective governments brighten up the grim prospects Pakistan is facing in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Asma Qasim, Karachi, Pakistan
The last India-Pakistan cricket series provided the impetus in breaking the impasse. This terrible earthquake could just be the opportunity ,to forever bury the seeds of mistrust and animosity. If Germany could do it, there is no reason on earth why India and Pakistan cannot at least live in peace.
Sarat Menon, Aalst/Belgium-Mumbai/India
The LoC is an artificial line dividing Kashmiri people of the same ethnicity, colour and language from each other. It has been the bane of all Pakistan-India conflicts and the sooner it is gotten rid of, the better it is. If Pakistan and India can agree to free movement of all Kashmiris across the LOC, this earthquake might end up to be a blessing in disguise creating a situation for the final and just solution of the Kashmir issue.
It is surprising, but a right step for the quake victims of both the side. Both the countries should not forget that they should win the hearts of people and not a piece of land. This a wonderful opportunity to do so.
Prashant, Camden, Australia
No, if Musharraf denied the support of Indian Army, why would you want to agree with him now?
Shivang, NJ, USA
Before we start patting Musharraf on the back for being so open-minded, let's ask where Pakistan was when India was hit by the tsunami? He's all for friendship with India when it benefits Pakistanis, but not when it benefits Indians.
Anonymous, New York, USA
Musharraf has shown his willingness to go the extra mile for resolution. Now it's India's turn. Given the problems between the two, I am saddened by India's decision on not sending helicopters sans pilots to Pakistan.
Ehson, Ottawa, Canada
Its is a very wise offer and call of time. Both Countries should open the Line Of control now as divided families can sooth each other and will be able to look after each other. It's an humanitarian offer. People are dying and its better and will work as Medication and magic for them if they are allowed to see each others' loving ones around them in this time of tragedy.
Asif Rafique, Minrovia, Liberia
Helicopters and ships supplying foods and other items seriously while the victims are still inside a cage! What sad news. Lives should be valued more than property, borders should be flew open in cases like time as President Pervez Musharraf said.
Plato Owulezi, Nigeria
The problem with opening borders is that the militants will have a free pass into Indian Kashmir. I am all for helping the ordinary Pakistanis. I just don't think Pakistan is honourable enough to block the militants from crossing over and causing death and destruction.
N Shah, New York, USA
Kashmir is nothing. Lives of innocent people is a number goal . I think world leaders will give President Musharraf outstanding credits for his decision.
Duop Chak, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
This is a nature provided opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of the Kashmir struggle for both India and Pakistan. It's an opportunity to show that they really care about the people of Kashmir rather than just a mass of land. Being an Indian, I feel India ought to make a first magnanimous move.
Ajay, Mangalore, India
That line of control shouldn't even exist in the first place.
Auron Mejzini, Prishtina
It is sad that the two countries are fighting about who is going to pilot the helicopters when the people in the mountain region isolated from rest of the world need help immediately. I feel that Pakistan should agree to allow IAF Helicopters to be used by Indian Air force Pilots and if needed the Pakistani AIrforce crew can join them on the same vehicle for rescue efforts and make sure there is no recon operations instead along the line. If only they allow relief efforts can be doubled and ease the tension in the region.
KK, NJ, USA
Of course, India should consider all humanitarian needs and give all possible access to borders. However, 50 years of history shows some Pakistani elements and it's military had always taken advantage of Indian sincerity.
Ashok, Pittsburgh, USA
This is another media stunt that military dictators are prone to make when they find themselves in tight corners. India has been urging quietly patiently in discussions at all levels to increase the people to people contacts between the two Kashmiris and between India and Pakistan. Pakistan has stonewalled these discussions and does not want to get into the mechanics of doing so. Now out of the blue Musharraf does a public 180 degree turn for the media. When journalists asked him if he had contacted the Indians about his plan, he says he hasn't and wants the media to make the offer.
How is it possible that when people are dying, the leaders are arguing over access and jurisdiction? Do they have no humanity left? For crying out loud, people are dying not because of the quake but because of the lack of aid effort in the aftermath. Stop bickering and start acting like decent human beings.
Opening the Line of Control will be a great help, not just for relief efforts, but also for the peace process. This can be the first step towards resolving the Kashmir dispute. The people of Kashmir cannot be divided any longer. Pakistan and India must find a way of jointly administering a united Kashmir. Opening the line of control will be a good start.
The last India-Pakistan cricket series provided the impetus in breaking the impasse. This terrible earthquake could just be the opportunity to forever bury the seeds of mistrust and animosity. If Germany could do it, there is no reason on earth why India and Pakistan cannot at least live in peace.
Sarat Menon, Aalst/Belgium, Mumbai/India
A humanitarian effort on a national scale has quickly reached global proportions. India and Pakistan must put aside years of war to save those lives they have fought strongly to defend. While they fight over who's side will man the helicopters, countless lives are being lost, when in the end, no lives will be left to save.
Billal Qureshi, Mississauga, Ontario
This is yet another gimmick from Musharraf which won't make much practical difference to the victims. Ever since the quake Musharraf has been playing regional politics rather than helping the victims. India was the first country to offer help, yet it took him 48 wasted hours for him to accept it. Indian Army was waiting to help in a terrain they know so well, yet again he refused help. The relief helicopter fleet could have been doubled, yet again Musharraf refused to accept Indian pilots, who have flown in these mountains for decades. The latest gesture will have little or no impact, only the infiltrators may benefit.
Vijay Math, London, UK
It's about time that both Pakistan and India are able to put aside their difference in time for such tragedy. I hope that both countries can realize how important peace and cooperation is for the people of Kashmir especially now since the quake.
Marium, Toronto, Canada
It's a pity that such a calamity will bring sense into these ever fighting neighbours. These man made divisions only exacerbate the extent of this immense tragedy. How is the nationality of helicopter pilot matter when he/she is there to bring the love of humanity to sufferers? It's time that leaders of this part of world stand up to their responsibility and rise above petty issues to make world a better place.
RS, Kashmir, India
I think it is too late. India offered this plan earlier and it was shot down by Pakistani officials. Now India offered helicopter, Pakistan, initially says no, and now say they would like them without pilots. India offers 3 consignments of Aid. Israel offers aid, but is asked to channel it indirectly. I think at a time like this, sensitivities would be put aside, and obviously Pakistan still is stubborn in that respect and so I think India, should cordially say "No" as to say it is too late, and "we as a nation wont go on the whims of a government who puts politics in front of its people."
John Macaffy, Binghamton, USA
It definitely is a good gesture by both the countries. These steps improve mutual understanding and respect not only between political circles but also between the common man of both the countries.
Yes for such humanitarian compulsions there is a need to respond by setting new standards of understanding in conflict zones which recognise that saving lives of helpless civilians must take the highest precedence. Cross border movement must be permitted but with adequate monitoring. The military of both sides can work this out easily.
Maj Gen APS Chauhan (rtd), India
President Musharraf's willingness to show his humanitarian nature in this time of crisis should be applauded throughout the world. Should India decide to put differences behind them for the greater good of all of the people from the region, a window of hope for the ending of hostilities between the countries might be in sight.
Eddie Espie, Cookstown, N Ireland
I think the President's offer is commendable and India has agreed to it. There is no time to squabble about who flies which helicopter over which area. India and Pakistan must make a concerted effort to save lives of our Kashmiris brethren. Put aside all discord. For once we are all coming together with one thought in mind - to save the lives and to do this swiftly. Let the Indian and Pakistani Air Force carry out their humanitarian work without further ado.
Neeta Borah, Hertfordshire, UK
That both Pakistan and India have agreed to dispense with the LOC, Line of Control, is a good beginning for Kashmir. The outcome of this terrible tragedy might be the freedom for Kashmir to govern itself.
W P Derbyshire , London UK
I would like to commend President Musharraf for his thoughtfulness and kind gesture. In time of crisis, it will be nice for both countries to put their differences aside and work together to help the victims of the earthquake. I sincerely urge Indians to do their part so that the living will be able to search for their families and love ones. When disaster of this magnitude strikes, it touches everyone.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA
While my prayers and wishes remain with the affected lives due to the disaster, opening up a border which is so porous, and prone to infiltration isn't such a good idea.
GJ, Chicago, USA
Excellent idea! This way we will be able to alleviate the suffering and pain of the victims of this disaster. But we should be careful about the political situation of this area as any minor mistake can turn up like a major one.
Rizwan M, Canada
It is a very wise and much awaited decision to erase borders (although temporarily) to address grievances of Kashmiris. I just hope that insurgents do not abuse this opportunity.
SP, NJ, USA
India has agreed to open the border theoretically but we will have to remain cautious as well keeping in mind the history. However it is a good step.
Ram, Allahabad, India
Opening the borders to the loved ones won't help...they need to open it to those who can help carrying out relief effort on both the sides.
Humanitarian needs know no borders. Politics must be put aside to help people in need.
Cobi Bentley, Austin, TX, USA
If anything good ever comes out of disasters like this, it is that people put aside their differences and pull together. I hope that the same can happen in the case of India and Pakistan.
Dan, Yateley, UK
How sad that these people need so much help and our countries are fighting about whose helicopters and whose pilots??
Praveen, Boston, USA
Yes it should be opened as soon as possible as aid and relief materials are desperately needed by people around that area. I welcome President Musharraf's move.
Ladi, Coventry, UK
Line of Control has no meaning in times like this. It's only sensible to help each other now and not worry about which country the suffering masses are from.
Mina, Jersey City, USA