With Lull On Border, CM Hopes Ceasefire Stays

With Lull On Border, CM Hopes Ceasefire Stays

27 October 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: Hours after guns fell silent for the first time in 12 days, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday expressed the hope that a decade-long historic ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the borders of the state remains intact. Omar, who in the past week, visited several villages in RS Pura and Ramgarh sectors of the Jammu region which were being pounded by mortars and machine gunfire from across the border, made these comments in a brief message on the micro-blogging site, Twitter. “After 12 days, the border has finally fallen silent and people have been able to sleep at home without fear. Let us hope that it stays this way now,” the Chief Minister said. The ceasefire violations had forced many residents living in the villages close to the Zero Line to migrate to safer locations. The ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir came into effect on November 26, 2003. The historic ceasefire, a major outcome of the Indo-Pak dialogue process and one of the biggest confidence building measures between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, would complete a decade next month. In the recent months, however, a series of skirmishes along the borders has threatened to leave the ceasefire in tatters. The skirmishes which included mortar shelling duels between the two sides have not taken place since October 25, after the ceasefire violations continued for more than 12 days along the 198-km international border in Jammu region. The first major ceasefire violation took place on October 11 when Pakistan fired mortars rounds and opened small arms fire in the forward areas of Poonch district and continued almost daily since then. Ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and International Border have continued intermittently throughout this year, but increased drastically this month. On October 22, Union Home Minister SK Shinde along with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had visited the border areas in Jammu region to review the worsening situation amid heightened tension along the borders, caused by the series of violations which are highest in number in the decade.