Muhammad Raza Malik
Pakistan and India on 25 February 2021 announced to observe ceasefire along the Line of Control and other sectors. The announcement was made in a joint statement by the militaries of the two countries a day after a ‘hotline contact’ between their directors general military operations (DGMOs). The statement said that conversation between the two DGMOs was free and frank and was held in a cordial atmosphere.
Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the LoC and all other sectors, with effect from midnight 24/25 February 2021, said the statement. “In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace, the two DGMOs agreed to address each other’s core issues/concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence,” it noted.
Pakistan and India had in November 2003 agreed to cease fire along the LoC and the Working Boundary. The agreement held for a few years, but regular violations by Indian troops have occurred since 2008. These violations witnessed a spike since 2014 when Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in India. Last year alone, Indian troops committed over 3,000 ceasefire violations in which 28 people were martyred and dozens others injured.
The recent move had generated a hope among the Kashmiris particularly those living along the both sides of the LoC that it will bring an end to their miseries. It was also appreciated by the Hurriyat leaders and organizations in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. However, despite the ceasefire announcement, the mayhem in IIOJK continues unabated. Indian troops have continued, rather stepped-up, their state terrorism in the territory, subjecting the people to the worst kinds of atrocities. The killing of 31 innocent Kashmiris, arrest of 224 others and 531 cordon and search operations by Indian troops since the ceasefire understanding till date clearly depict the grim situation the people of the occupied territory went through during this period.
The devastating second phase of COVID-19 has also exposed the incompetence of Narendra Modi-led fascist government to tackle the spread of the lethal virus in the country. The health experts and international media have given Narendra Modi the title of “super-spreader” of coronavirus. The international media said that despite the repeated warning of health experts and a burgeoning shortage of oxygen and vaccines in India amid the COVID-19 crisis, the BJP government allowed religious gatherings such as the Kumbh Mela to continue unabated while Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself spearheaded mammoth election rallies where tens of thousands participated without masks.
The Modi regime is showing no flexibility in its plans to conduct annual Hiindu pilgrimage, the Amarnath Yatra, in the Indian illegally occupied Kashmir, putting the entire population of territory at the fast spread of coronavirus. It also continues to discriminate against the Kashmiris even during the pandemic. It has not only stopped supply of COVID-19 vaccine to the occupied territory but is also diverting the allocated stocks to the Indian cities, leaving the Kashmiri people at the mercy of the deadly virus. This has resulted into the halt of vaccination in IIOJK, which is currently under stringent military siege imposed on 05 August 2019 by Modi regime when it repealed the special status of the territory and strict COVID lockdown clamped a few days ago in the name of containing the spread of the virus. Media reports say that hundreds of people daily visit the vaccination centres amidst the lockdown to get a jab of the vaccine but are sent back as the stocks have finished and fresh supplies have been blocked by the Indian government for last several days.
Narendra Modi is facing growing criticism both at home and abroad over utter failure in dealing with the ongoing corona crisis in India and atrocities in IIOJK. Political analysts have warned that to ward off this criticism and to cover up his failures, frustrated Modi could launch a false flag operation against Pakistan. They pointed out that the ceasefire violation by deliberate crossing of Working Boundary by the soldiers of Border Security Force at Pakistan’s Charwa Sector from Jammu area in IIOJK on Monday is an indicator of Modi’s future designs.
(The author is Senior Editor at Kashmir Media Service)