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Wanton civilian killings to scare people in Kashmir

Early this year, both India and Pakistan exchanged vows to restore peace along the LoC by agreeing on a ceasefire after years of border shelling.

Published: 18th October 2021 08:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2021 08:17 AM   |  A+A-

Security forces personnel during a encounter with militants in Warpora area of Sopore in north Kashmir's Baramulla district

Pakistan can be expected to further push terrorists in before winter sets in and Nature makes the border impregnable for a few months. (File photo| AP)

Managing Kashmir at the best of times is difficult, with or without Article 370 and 35A. Looks like the worst of times is knocking on the Valley’s door as seismic changes around the region have altered the geostrategic balance. The targeted killing of civilians since a couple of weeks has added a new layer to the reign of terror in Kashmir where encounter deaths have already escalated. While the intention to scare is visible, security forces are struggling to deal with The Resistance Force, the new entity apparently floated by Pakistan to take responsibility for the wanton bloodshed. Pakistan can be expected to further push terrorists in before winter sets in and Nature makes the border impregnable for a few months.

The messy US drawdown from Afghanistan and Taliban capturing power has anyway made Af-Pak the most unpredictable and dangerous region in the world. For whatever reason, the pressure of further refugee influx on Pakistan’s western border has reduced, leaving Islamabad ample time and resources to mess around in Kashmir earlier than expected. Add to that its all-weather friend China’s rigidity during the latest border talks on the Ladakh face-off and the diplomatic frost in India’s north and west has only become deeper. That the US no longer has the ability to be a counterweight to deter Pakistan from turning on the terror tap is a given. And the ability of multilateral agencies like the IMF and the FATF to squeeze out Islamabad’s terror financing is questionable.

Early this year, both India and Pakistan exchanged vows to restore peace along the LoC by agreeing on a ceasefire after years of border shelling. It carried the promise of improving bilateral ties as there were some attempts at legacy-making. Simultaneously, the Modi government pushed the development envelope in J&K, setting the tone for Assembly polls after delimitation to expand the space for democracy. But back-channel talks failed, giving the Imran government the excuse to go back on the beaten path. Imran’s recent run-in with the military over the procedure to appoint a new ISI chief notwithstanding, he continues to be the army’s political arm. With chances of peace withering away for now, would the LoC truce at least survive?



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