News of the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani dominated the Pakistani media on Monday, with reports suggesting the violence could worsen already strained India-Pakistan ties.
Most English dailies reported the widespread violence that has claimed 22 lives in three days on their front page. The influential Dawn daily headlined its report “FO terms Wani’s killing, protestors’ deaths extrajudicial”, referring to the Foreign Office’s statement on Sunday that described Wani as a “Kashmiri leader”.
Ties between the two countries hit a low point after the terror attack on Pathankot airbase in January that was blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed. The assault ended a thaw that followed back-to-back visits to Pakistan by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Kashmir is once again threatening to pit Pakistan and India against each other as the occupant forces have unleashed a wave of state-sponsored terrorism” in Jammu and Kashmir, The Nation newspaper said in its report.
“The killing of Burhan Wani, who was a Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander, will now unleash another wave of militancy in the Valley where the danger of global terrorist groups feeding off the Hizbul Mujahideen cannot be ruled out,” The News said in its front page report.
The reports noted that Pakistan’s Foreign Office had strongly condemned the “extrajudicial killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and scores of other innocent Kashmiris”. Pakistan had also called for resolving the Kashmir issue through a “fair and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices”, the reports added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the reports said, had expressed “deep shock” at the killing of Wani and civilians. “It is deplorable that excessive and unlawful force was used against the civilians who were protesting against the killing of Burhan Wani,” Sharif said in a statement.
A report in the Dawn quoted opposition Pakistan People’s Party leader Bilawal Bhutto as saying that the “Sharif-Modi friendship” has caused “irreparable damage to the Kashmir cause”. He too condemned what he described as the killing of “innocent Kashmiris”.