Jammu & Kashmir: Mortar Shelling Gets the Upper Hand Again

The tragedy in Jammu & Kashmir will continue unless we confront jihadism in whatever theological configuration, geopolitical scenario or instrumental form it assumes.

jammu-kashmir

Credit: Reuters

The 2014 elections in Jammu & Kashmir led to inconclusive results, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, the BJP, obtaining results successful enough to force its entry in government but not high enough to avoid coalitions.

Since the provisional results were declared in December 23, an agreement for a government has yet to be found.

Much worse, the high participation rate and failure of terrorist attempts to jeopardize elections gave rise now to a direct brutal Pakistani army attack on civilians.

“We had a narrow escape and there is a war-like situation,” Sham Kumar, 54, from Sherpur village told Reuters. “Pakistani troops are using long-range weapons. It is the first time we have seen such intense shelling.”

In the first six days of 2015 over 10,000 villagers in Kathua and Samba areasSouth of Jammuhad fled over 60 villages, 10 civilians having perished under Pakistani army fire acting in close co-ordination with jihadi groups.

According to the same Reuters report, Harsh Pant, professor of international relations at King’s College London (and member of SADF Board of Advisors) “This may be a bit of a sobering moment for those who thought we might see a blooming of the relationship.”

The truth is that in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif challenged the Pakistani military establishment to conclude there are no good Taliban. The attack on Jammu and Kashmir, as the naval terrorist attack attempt foiled by the Indian army in the Arabian Seaincidentally planned for action at the same time as the beginning of the mortar shelling in Jammureads as a loud and clear rejection of Nawaz Sharif’s proposal.

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As the Pakistani military establishment continues to control the country’s diplomacy and the Obama administration continues to provide it with uncritical support, the odds are now for the continuation of the same dangerous path followed in the subcontinent for most of the time after the partition of the subcontinent.

In fact Nawaz Sharif’s words need to be accepted and understood not only in Rawalpindi (Military General Head Quarters) but right across the Western diplomatic establishment. For all of those who thought September 11, 2001 would have constituted a transformational landmark in international policy, disappointment could not have been bigger.

Not even the final elimination of Osama bin Laden by the US Navy SEALs in Rawalpindi seems to have been sufficient for an understanding in the West that there are no “good Taliban” and consequently there are not good supporters of whatever kind of Taliban either.

The tragedy impending now in Jammu & Kashmir with innocent villagers is just yet another warning sign of what to expect if we do not confront jihadism in whatever theological configuration, geopolitical scenario or instrumental form it assumes.

Paulo Casaca is Director of SADF. Read other articles by Paulo.