A decade long ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) seems to be falling apart. The problem is not confined to the 740-kilometer LoC across Jammu and Kashmir, but has spread to the international border in the Jammu region as well.
Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde visited the border amid tensions and vowed to give a “befitting reply” to Pakistan after one Indian Border Security Force personnel lost his life. Two casualties were reported on the Pakistani side, and the eyeball to eyeball confrontation continued, albeit with some calm earlier this week.
Despite a meeting between the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York on September 29, tensions have heightened, shutting down the doors of an ambitious process that started in the last week of November in 2003, when both countries agreed to a ceasefire. The ceasefire worked well for a long time and its consequential benefits were seen on the ground. With tens of thousands of people living along the LoC returning to their homes to live in peace after a long time, the rapprochement paved the way for a grand reconciliation. That was evident in the move to begin bus services from Srinagar to Muzaffarabad and Poonch to Rawlakot, altering the status quo between the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir and uniting them on at least a symbolic level. Among the beneficiaries of the move were divided families, many of whom had not seen their loved ones for nearly six decades.
[quote]Looking at Kashmir through the prism of law and order is the biggest mistake New Delhi has been making[/quote]
The historic breakthrough for which the foundations had been laid by former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf was amongst the most significant achievements between the two neighbors in the last 60 years. This new phase of normalcy, if not friendship, had come in the wake of a warlike situation between India and Pakistan following a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001.
It is a challenging situation for both New Delhi and Islamabad. India accuses Nawaz Sharif of failing to regain control over the extremists in Pakistan – who according to his critics helped him take back the office of prime minister – thus making himself irrelevant when talking about peace with India.
There are two opinions on the situation in Pakistan vis a vis militancy. Either the Pakistani government has lost complete control over these forces, or they have a blind-eye approach towards them. Nawaz Sharif’s latest bid to seek US intervention in Kashmir has also angered Delhi.
But the fact remains that India has failed to acknowledge the fruits of peace in the last decade. It has not moved an inch in recognizing Kashmir as a problem. Looking at Kashmir through the prism of law and order is the biggest mistake it has been making when the semblance of normality returns to Kashmir.
It fails to recognize that people are paving the way for peace only to get Kashmir addressed as a political issue. Notwithstanding the fact that violence is no solution to Kashmir, to delay a solution creates space for other means.
To hold on to the ceasefire along the LoC is essential for an opportunity of dialogue. If there is no dialogue, the hawks on either side will win more space.
The author is a journalist based in Srinagar
As per UN resolution of 1948 Pakistan is first to move out of the part of Kashmir under its occupation. Only after that can a referendum be held under indian-UN supervision.
Pakistan has violated this clause/requirement since day one. Pakistan has been misleading its own people and the world on this count and thus keeping up (in order to kep up) its hate-propaganda against India.
The Army chief in no uncertain words had said he is retiring. But why this border clashes continuing. IS Govt trying to retain him by creating a crisis. that he should stay when the border clashes are on. . this doubt needs to be addressed.
this author is based in Srinagar and yet his writings do not reflect the realities on the ground. There is no reference to the increased activities of the mujahid groups based in Punjab and Azad Kashmir in a bid to internationalize the kashmir issue. There is no recognition of the fact that the establishment in pakistan is trying to create an alternative narrative for the terrorists hitherto interested in destabilizing pakistan. During the ceasefire from 2003 to 2009 – we had the mumbai attacks, couple of attacks on indian consulates in afghanistan and a relentless bid to create communal disharmony across India.
The author should try removing his valley-specific glasses and religion-specific viewpoints to recognize why the kashmir issue has not received traction anywhere beyond some hardliners in the valley and across Pakistan.
I refuse to read this article whose title is plagiarized.An Excellent piece by Yasmeen Aftab Ali in The Nation titled:’Line out of Control’. What will a ‘writer’ write who even steals another’s article headline.