Don’t make J&K  a theatre of war

Binoo Joshi

( JK News Today  Commentary)

 

It is time  for India and Pakistan to recognize  the ground realities  and retreat  their steps  without any delay from making Jammu and Kashmir as a theatre of war .Tuesday brought yet another bad news for the country , when three soldiers were killed by Pakistani troops or terrorists in Macchil sector in north-western Kashmir’s Kupwara district . It was followed by another bad news that  nearly a dozen civilians were killed in Neelum Valley area of Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the cross-border firing  by the Indian army to fulfill its pledge to  deliver “ heavy retribution ( to Pakistan) for  its cowardly act( of mutilating  body of one of the  three Indian soldiers)”

Islamabad ‘s high-pitched clamour is that “ Kashmir is its jugular vein” . If that is so then why it is targeting civilians what it calls “ working boundary”- international border for India- and the Line  of Control ( LoC)  to  kill the civilians and uproot a large population from the border areas .  It might consider “ Kashmir as a dispute”, but  is this the way to settle the issues.

Pakistan is well advised to go back  to the terms of  dialogue  set at Ufa, Russia  last year before it backtracked at the subsequent dialogue could not take place in New Delhi between Pakistan’s foreign affairs advisor  Sartaj Aziz  and  Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj . The rest is history that , how  things improved  and then came the peak when Indian Prime Minister  Narendra Modi  air dashed to Lahore  from Kabul, Afghanistan , to surprise everyone in the world, to greet his Pakistani counterpart , Nawaz Sharif . This was Christmas .

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Then, India was face to face with a terror attack on air base in Pathankot, a prominent military station in Punjab on this side of the border. Things  not only stayed the course, but went a step further , when India allowed  access  to a team of Pakistani investigators,  spy agency ISI men included, to Pathankot  air base. This was a unique example of opening  a new chapter of cooperation . It should have set a tone when both India and Pakistan , mauled by terrorism, could have set up a joint  mechanism to fight the menace of terrorism. But , Pakistan for reasons best known to it , baulked  from allowing National Investigation Team to visit Pakistan to quiz the handlers of the attack.

India has its won fault-lines. It gets easily excited about things. The result was that Christmas bonhomie of Modi  in Lahore , hit him hard not only in Pathankot but in Uri in  Kashmir , where  19 soldiers were killed  on September 18 , and then came September 29 when it conducted “ surgical strikes” in PoK  in which terror infrastructure was dismantled , infuriating Pakistan which had no option but to deny the Indian claim .

There  is  a debate now whether the surgical strikes have achieved the purpose? This question is sought to be given  a new relevance because of the continuing terror attacks  in Kashmir and along the borders, consuming lives of civilians and soldiers. New Delhi has another problem  that the Valley and some other parts of the state have become pat of the unrest where the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen Commander Burhan Wani on July 8 triggered unprecedented protests. The unrest assumed the shape of “ anti-India  movement”.

Pakistan and  its sponsored separatists  lulled themselves into a delusion that “ this struggle had brought the freedom in sight for Kashmiris,” before conceding that it is not the moment. Delhi should  talk of peace within , and Pakistan should  weigh the consequences of war for the people, who, it claims are  living in its “ jugular vein”.

 

The need of the hour is  step back from this brinkman

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