News Analysis |
Pakistan took the first and essential step toward de-escalation in the ongoing row between two nuclear powers of South Asia when it decided to release captured MIG 21 fighter pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan, but the gesture has not been reciprocated. India has resorted to heavy shelling on the line of control from sectors ranging from southernmost Kotli district to the northern ones like Rawalakot and Bagh.
Locals are saying that right when Wing Commander Abhinandan was handed over to Indian authorities via Wagha border, India had unleashed heavy mortar and artillery firing, some sources claim that the U.S-provided 155mm Howitzer big guns are being used to fire the shells into Pakistani territory. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative for peace in the region was applauded all over the world, from the Indian population to the U.S House of Representatives.
A lot needs to be done for the safety of Kashmiri population living near the line of control who are most vulnerable to Indian indiscriminate shelling.
But it has not been enough for Indian ruling elite to bring down the jingoism and warmongering attitude. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to avoid facing the Indian public in the wake of events after WC Abhinandan’s jet was shot down from the sky. In the meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the Pakistani nation and even gave a message of peace to the Indian population and its leadership.
In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose not to even talk to Prime Minister Imran Khan when he tried to contact him. It implies that Modi has not yet been able to draw enough leverage from high tension between India and Pakistan which would make him win the upcoming elections.
Unilateral efforts are not going to work
Though the efforts on Pakistan’s part are commendable, in response, the country still has to pick up coffins of its civilian population and soldiers across LoC, which is not acceptable at all. There has been a growing apprehension that unilateral notion of de-escalation is not going to work. Pakistan has shown restraint and has come up victorious on both military and diplomatic front till now. In a roundtable conference organized by Islamabad Policy Institute, experts agreed that for a de-escalation to work it has been to be approached from both sides.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative for peace in the region was applauded all over the world, from the Indian population to the U.S House of Representatives.
In his keynote address, Strategic Plans Division (SPD) adviser and former ambassador Zamir Akram said “de-escalation is only possible once both adversaries have a common interest in de-escalation” and that unilateral steps would not work. “The dilemma facing [Indian PM Narendra] Modi is that the end state in case of de-escalation at this stage would not be very attractive for him,” Mr. Akram maintained, adding that the Indians were projecting Pakistani intent to reduce tensions as “a sign of weakness”.
Internally displaced Kashmiris
A lot needs to be done for the safety of Kashmiri population living near the line of control who are most vulnerable to Indian indiscriminate shelling. The locals are forced to move out into locations like Muzaffarabad for safety. Local NGOs have been taking care of their shelter and other means of subsistence.
But more families are expected to arrive toward central locations of Azad Kashmir to avoid Indian shelling where NGOs with their limited resources would not be able to cater their needs. It is imperative that the government, both in Muzaffarabad and Islamabad needs to be proactive in helping the displaced people.
There needs to be active deliberation into working out a permanent solution so that people living near the line of control or even working boundary in Sialkot sector are not the victim of Indian warmongering. Even before the current crisis, the death of civilians near the working boundary in Sialkot and LoC in Azad Kashmir was a regular phenomenon. They are certainly not expendables and hence India must be stopped from targeting them through every mean available