November 2016 News

Pakistan Refuses To Cease Fire, 2003 Pact As Good As Over

28 November 2016
The Economic Times
Hakeem Irfan Rashid

Srinagar: Escalation of tension along the border in Jammu and Kashmir since the Uri terror attack has once again put a question mark on the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan, which completed 13 years this weekend. As many as 2,058 ceasefire violations have been recorded since India and Pakistan signed the ceasefire agreement along the 720 kmlong Line of Control (LoC) and 198 km-long international border in the state on November 26, 2003. Ceasefire violations have increased considerably in last three years with 1,365 violations having been recorded since 2014. According to official figures, 583 violations were recorded in 2014, 405 in 2015 and 377 till November 15 this year, along LoC and international border in the state. J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and opposition leader Omar Abdullah have called for de-escalation of tensions between the two countries, while Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik have stressed the need for the two countries to resume dialogues to resolve the Kashmir issue. 'Whatever be the reasons for hardening of stancesthere is no substitute to the reconciliatory policy which was started in 2003 and had worked so well,' Mufti said while reacting to continuous exchange of fire on the border. Fresh hostilities were triggered in September this year after a group of terrorists attacked an army installation in border district of Uri in Kashmir, killing 19 soldiers, even as India and Pakistan engaged in a verbal brawl over Kashmir issue at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. India responded to the terror attack with surgical strikes along the LoC and destroyed several militant launch pads. Since the strike, 29 people, including 17 troopers, have been killed on the border in J&K. In 2014, eight army and BSF personnel and 13 civilians were killed on the borders, while in 2015, 10 army and BSF personnel and 16 civilians were killed on the border of the state. The surge in violence, Mufti said, should keep reminding India and Pakistan of the inevitability of sitting across the table to find a peaceful, just and pragmatic solution to all the contentious issues. Two years before the ceasefire agreement, in 2002 there were 8,376 incidents on the border in which 76 civilians and 58 troopers were killed and in 2003, there were around 2,045 incidents in which 59 civilians were killed. Even as the two years after the agreement remained calm, three ceasefire violations were reported in 2006, 21 in 2007, 77 in 2008, 28 in 2009, 44 in 2010, 62 in 2011, 114 in 2012, and 347 in 2013. 'Unless Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of people, the risk of collision between the two nuclear powers will remain, which will be devastating not only for the region but whole world,' said Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani.

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