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Posted at: Mar 11, 2018, 1:18 AM; last updated: Mar 11, 2018, 2:29 AM (IST)A VIEW FROM ACROSS THE BORDER

When reason ends, firepower begins

Sumayyah Qureshi
When reason ends, firepower begins
PTI file.

Sumayyah Qureshi in Chandigarh

As India and Pakistan exchange heavy arms fire and mortar shells on the border in Jammu and Kashmir, TV news channels get a blast of chattering on heavy recoil. Overenthusiastic anchors seem to decide whether a full-blown war is the solution. The media on the either side, too, has been unsparing, blaming the government of the other side for the escalation. Tuning in to Pakistani TV channels or Indian TV channels gives a sense of déjà vu. Anchors blame the neighbouring country for keeping the borders on the boil.

In one such TV discussion on a Pakistani TV channel, a senior Indian journalist, however, put the things into the right perspective. He said India and Pakistan must respect the truce pact signed by them. He said the blame game would not get anyone anywhere.

Instead of looking at the situation in a neutral way, Pakistani newspapers seem to take a lopsided view of the situation. An editorial, ‘Shelling without End’ in the Express Tribune notes: “It is hard to ignore the blatant and innumerable ceasefire violations by Indian forces across the Line of Control and the working boundary especially since the beginning of this year. Such violations have been costly, leading to dozens of civilian casualties, many of them innocent women and children... one can see a definite pattern emerging and what is most discernible in recent years is that India is not doing this randomly or without purpose. It has adopted border shelling as a matter of state policy regardless of the consequences and the lives snuffed out in the bargain.”

Taking a tough stance, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has warned Pakistan of a strong reaction if it continued to violate ceasefire in J&K. At the same time he has also advocated a “politico-military” approach to deal with the situation in J&K. The Army Chief said: “The political and all other initiatives must go simultaneously and only if all of us function in synergy, we can bring about lasting peace in Kashmir. It has to be a politico-military approach that we have to adopt.”

In The Dawn, an editorial read: “Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat has once again stirred controversy with hawkish and arguably reckless comments against Pakistan...” It further said: “There is no scenario in which Pakistan can treat an Indian incursion on its soil as a temporary or acceptable move that does not merit a forceful and immediate response... Gen Rawat’s disturbing comments have also underlined the dire state of Pakistan-India relations.” India accuses Pakistan of backing militants and helping them carry out attacks on its soil. After the recent attack by Pakistan-backed militants on an Army camp in Jammu, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Pakistan would pay for the misadventure.

Amid the TRP-gaining overhyped coverage of the escalation of the border situation on both sides, saner voices too are heard. Most of them want India and Pakistan to initiate dialogue and put an end to the ceasefire violations. They say that war is no option.

While talking to a TV channel, former CM Omar Abdullah and working president of the National Conference said: “Violence is not the solution to the Jammu and Kashmir’s problem...I hope our NSA can pick up the phone and talk to his counterpart.”

The Indian and Pakistani armies have been intermittently exchanging fire on the border for the past many months. The line dividing India and Pakistan is witnessing breach of the ceasefire pact inked by the two countries in November 2003. While the border in the Kashmir region has remained relatively calm, the Line of Control in the Uri sector recently saw exchange of heavy artillery fire between Indian and Pakistani forces after 15 years. 


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