By Arun Joshi
Pakistan violated ceasefire along the international border in Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir, thus breaking the two-month-long spell of peace on borders that had come into effect in February this year and which was hailed by the international community as a positive step by the two countries in South Asia and outlining a trajectory of peace in the region. Any escalation of such incidents has the ominous potential to halt the backchannel talks between India and Pakistan
Border Security Force that guards international border in Jammu region said in a statement on Monday that Pakistan Rangers “ opened unprovoked firing at a patrolling party of the force” in Ramgarh sector in Samba district nearly 50 kms south west of Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir.. The BSF spokesperson, however, disclosed that there was no loss of life or injury . It was silent whether the “ unprovoked firing by Pakistan” was retaliated or not.
The BSF spokesman admitted that this was the first ceasefire violation on the border since February 25, when the Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan had reiterated that they would abide by the ceasefire agreement ( of November 26,2003) . The statement had reiterated that “ In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGsMO agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence. Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from
midnight 24/25 Feb 2021.”
The official circles were shocked by this act of unprovoked firing by Pakistan on the international border as that could re-open the fears of the border residents who had hailed the return of the ceasefire as a welcome step.
This particular incident of the ceasefire violation defies logic because Pakistan is engaged in backchannel talks with India looking for ways and means to settle all the outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir . This also sits at odds with Pakistan’s decoration of supporting and assisting India in its fight against the devastating crisis caused by the pandemic of coronavirus virus. India’s death toll has crossed 200,000 and its toll of the infected persons is close to two million.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had tweeted on April 25 : ““I want to express our solidarity with the people of India as they battle a dangerous wave of COVID-19. We must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together,” Earlier , Pakistan had officially offered all the help to the government of India. Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said: “ As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of Covid-19, Pakistan has officially offered relief and support to India , including ventilators , Bi Pap, digital X-Ra-ray machines, PPEs and other related items . We believe in humanity first>’
But this ceasefire violation incident runs contrary to the spirit of what is being practised.
It is the sole responsibility of Pakistan to save the ceasefire agreement and also the goodwill spirit that had started shaping up as a narrative in the subcontinent.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express and The Tribune.
He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com