Pakistan’s eastern frontier

29 Nov 2017


Incidents of unprovoked firing

On 24 November 2017, as a result of unprovoked and indiscriminate firing from Indian side at Battal sector of Line of Control (LOC), Zaida Begum, and 38 years of age, resident of Dharmsal village was seriously injured and her condition remains critical till date. Previously, on September 29, Naib Subedar Nadeem was martyred as a result of the cross border firing in the Rukh Chakri Sector, along with some other civilians. His funeral prayers were held the very next day and Lt Gen Nadeem Raza, Commander 10 Corps, was one of the attendees. A number of similar incidents have occurred since then.

If we look at it closely, it wasn’t exactly a case of unprovoked firing but India wasn’t really provoked by Pakistan. It was just a manifestation of Indian army’s constant disappointment in achieving desired goals in the disputed Kashmir. Despite their continuous efforts to curb the freedom struggle for the past many years, they still haven’t been able to do so. Historically, they used to blame militant outfits, allegedly working in cahoots with Pakistan army, for their failures. However, after 9/11, Pakistan defense apparatus has diverted its attention to the internal security. Even the Indian authorities and the media now acknowledge that there has been significantly decreased interference from Pakistan’s side in the last few years. This situation deprives them of a convenient scapegoat, frustrating them even further.

The fact of matter is that the indigenous freedom struggle in Kashmir is on the rise. The recent upheaval’s roots go back to the assassination of Burhan Wanni, commander of Hizb Ul Mujahedeen. Today, in all honesty, Indians have no one else other than their own selves to blame for the current state of affairs in Kashmir. India needs to ponder why is it that after spending a colossal amount of budget and man power, it has not been able to bring an end to the freedom struggle in Kashmir?

History bears witness to the fact that no government has ever been able to win over its masses through power and brutality. The only solution is to win their hearts and minds. It is about time that India assesses as to why resistance movement in Kashmir is growing with every passing day. Why can they not understand that by firing pellets at unarmed civilians and by raping their women, they cannot mitigate the problem? Why is India operating in a state of self-denial?

The fact of matter is that the indigenous freedom struggle in Kashmir is on the rise. The recent upheaval’s roots go back to the assassination of Burhan Wanni, commander of Hizb Ul Mujahedeen

Perhaps internal Indian politics bars its politicians from adapting a pragmatic approach towards resolving the Kashmir issue. If they had spent even half the budget, of what they squandered on crushing the freedom movement with military might on the welfare of Kashmiris and had made efforts towards attaining political solution to the problem, probably the way Kashmiris are reacting now would have been entirely different. There is nothing in this world that cannot be solved through peaceful means. If the Kashmir issue is solved wisely through meaningful talks, Pakistan and any other country for that matter would never object. Pakistan has always been willing to solve the issue through dialogue, in accordance with the Shimla agreement and there is nothing more Pakistan wants than the welfare of Kashmiris. If India is willing to be flexible, there is no reason Pakistan won’t be.

History bears witness that whenever the issues are resolved peacefully; all the stakeholders have to adopt the flexible policy of give and take. Lastly, Kashmiris are the ones to have the ultimate say in what happens to them. The current situation is not at all feasible for India and Pakistan. There is cross border firing every other day between the two countries on the eastern border with big and small weapons. This crossfire has resulted in the loss of a lot of civilian lives and private property.

Pakistan and India are both confronted with the issues of poverty and if the budget allotted to defense is used in improving the conditions of those living below the poverty lines, on either side of the border, it will only contribute towards the improvement of the region as a whole.

Furthermore, the two countries need to establish more trade opportunities and learn from the European nations. The Europeans destroyed each other in both world wars but look at them now. They have established the European Union and are now helping each other prosper. Similarly, Indians can benefit immensely from China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC); but Kashmir issue remains the main hurdle towards any economic cooperation between the two neighbours. It is about time that Pakistan and India solve all their issues including Kashmir dispute through peaceful means. Otherwise, a conflict between two nuclear countries can have catastrophic implications for the region and the world as a whole.


Published in “Pakistan Today” on 29 November 2017.


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