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Deadly doings

Editorial (Express Tribune): Adding to the already tense atmosphere that surrounds India-Pakistan relations, there has been a deadly attack by militants on an Indian army camp close to Srinagar in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

The attack came on December 5 when a group of obviously well-armed militants entered the camp and were able to kill 11 security officials. Six militants also died in the incident, while there was a separate gunfire battle fought on the outskirts of Srinagar. The camp that was hit lies about 100 kilometres from the Kashmir capital and not far from the Line of Control, which divides Indian-occupied Kashmir and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The attack and the deaths are not good news. They will add to the existing tensions that have split New Delhi and Islamabad further apart over the last few months. Already, an Indian minister has blamed Pakistan for this incident. Indian allegations about Pakistan supporting militancy have been a factor in this although there is no way of saying who was responsible for the deadly incident in Srinagar, which comes amidst state elections that are currently being held in Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to visit the region on December 8 in order to address campaign rallies.

The fact before us is simple: the long-drawn-out Kashmir dispute can be sorted out only at the negotiating table. Attempts to find military solutions have only claimed lives and created more acute problems. Pakistan and India need to resume the process of dialogue. This must happen as soon as possible. There can be no further delays. The disruption that we see at the present time sets us back. It is important to think constructively about how the lives of the people of Kashmir can be made better and safer by working out a plan which initially offers them the peace that they yearn for and which should eventually enable them to determine their own destiny. This may seem like a dream, but to begin to work towards it, we must first initiate a solid process of talks. Without this, there will be no end to the violence that has crippled Kashmir and its people for more than six decades.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2014.

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