( 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 .
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