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LoC firings off our radar, says Pak MP

The Pakistan Army isn’t evidently keeping a count of ceasefire violations the way the troops on the Indian side are.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2008 23:32 IST
Vinod Sharma

The Pakistan Army isn’t evidently keeping a count of ceasefire violations the way the troops on the Indian side are.

It also has its own account of firing incidence along the Line of Control (LoC) and the international border in Jammu and Kashmir.

Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) Director General, Maj.Gen. Athar Abbas disputed New Delhi’s figure of 31 ceasefire violations since January this year. “It’s unfounded. There was no cross-fire in several alleged incidents,” he told HT.

After the latest August 25 Jammu incident, Pakistani security forces reported firing at their check-posts from the Indian side, Gen. Abbas claimed. A meeting followed between the local commandants after which Director General of Military Operations, Maj.Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha spoke to his Indian counterpart.

Of deep concern to Delhi, the case-fire violations posing a threat to the most durable Indo-Pak CBM since 2003 aren’t prominent on the radar in Pakistan where the Army is largely focused on the western borders with Afghanistan and the ruling elite in sorting out the internal political discord.

“It’s off our radar screen because President Pervez Musharraf downgraded the importance of our eastern borders,” remarked Ayaz Amir, well known analyst and PML-N MP. It could well be that the lack of political focus on the borders with India and the latest separatist upsurge in the Valley have lent extra-democratic forces—that have forever been their own masters--- an opening to agument infiltration and kill the ceasefire that created a “constituency for peace” on both sides of the divide.

In 2004, a senior politician told a delegation of Indian journalists in Muzaffarabad that over a dozen assembly constituencies in PoK ran parallel to the control line. “We have reaped harvest on our fields there for the first time in many years,” he said. The ground situation has since altered. Critics have begun questioning what they term the government’s “diplomatic inertia” on Kashmir.

For his part, Ayaz Amir attributed the lack of a “firmer” Pakistani reaction to the security crack down on Hurriyat-led protestors to the PPP regime’s pro-US tilt. “I imagine the Americans wouldn’t be too happy if we make a fuss over Kashmir. That’s why the Pakistani response isn’t only muted. It simply isn’t there.”

By past standards, the reaction here to the situation in Kashmir can be considered subdued. But not all of what Amir says is true. The trouble in the Valley did trigger a series of statements from the Pak Foreign Office followed by a Senate resolution India described as “gross interference” in its internal affairs.

The commonly heard refrain in the debating circles here is that New Delhi has none else but itself to blame for the latest Kashmiri upheaval. “You better sort out the mess you have created….For once, you have nothing to blame us about,” said a retired Pakistani diplomat.

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