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Let the peace process continue... By Masood

11 January, 2013

Do we not smell a conspiracy being hatched on either side of the Line of Control (LoC) between Pakistani and Indian held Kashmir? This may create a win-win situation for some hawks in either country but it is a loss for millions praying for peace between these two feuding neighbours. After the conclusion of the recently held cricket series, there was a new sense of confidence to further proceed with the peace process between these two embattled countries. Then came the Pakistani complaint of an 'unprovoked' Indian attack on January 6, 2013 on one of its military check posts along the LoC, killing at least one Pakistani soldier.

The claim was immediately rejected by the Indian side with a counter-claim accusing Pakistani troops of first opening fire. This still to be investigated incident was followed by an Indian claim that Pakistani soldiers crossed into Indian territory and ambushed an army patrol party, killing two Indian soldiers, one of whom was reportedly beheaded. No one can believe that a professional army can commit this sort of brutality. This means that there is the possibility of non-state actors taking such steps in an apparent attempt to disrupt the ongoing peace process. The 26/11 Mumbai attack is an example of such an attempt on the part of the terrorists. Every peaceful Pakistani and Indian will try to maintain a distance from such evil-minded people who are trying their best to keep borders bleeding.

Though such a confrontation will feed the ego of the hawks, we must remember what Churchill said: "War is too serious a business to be left to the generals." Therefore, instead of being swayed by hawks from the media and opposition parties, the political leadership needs to show courage in the face of terrorist schemes. It is unfortunate that after a relatively peaceful decade, this 700 kilometre long border is again becoming a flash point. It is high time that both armies avoid exaggerating these tit-for-tat incidents and let the peace process survive. This process is too fragile to admit to such adventurism by quarters with vested interests. Pakistan is making history wherein a democratically elected government will complete its first ever tenure without any hindrance from the establishment. They should not be distracted by such incidents, which may initiate delays in the election process. The LoC needs to be calmed down for the sake of sustainable democracy in the subcontinent.

MASOOD KHAN
Jubail, Saudi Arabia

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