Will Kashmir tensions hurt fresh India-Pakistan peace efforts?

February 8, 2010

Killing of civilians, six in the past month blamed on government forces, has triggered massive protest demonstrations since last week in Kashmir, the region at the heart of enmity between India and Pakistan.

Police stand guard at a barricade set up to stop a protest march in Srinagar February 8, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliAnd the anger has evolved into wider anti-India protests, nearly similar to huge street protests seen in 2008 that embarrassed New Delhi. After a period of relative calm, rebel violence has increased.

The fresh trouble in the Himalayan region comes at a time when India and Pakistan, who claim the region in full but rule in parts and have fought wars over it,  have decided to improve strained relations.

The high-level bilateral talks, proposed by India over a year after the terror attacks on Mumbai, coincided with the day when thousands of people rallied across Pakistan to denounce Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region and to express solidarity with the Kashmiris.

More than 400 people have been injured in pitched street battles between government forces and large groups of rock-pelting Muslim protesters over the past week in Kashmir.

Analysts are pointing to increasing trouble in the region if the government does not find a way to check the rising anger. The growing strife could also harm efforts to reach out to moderate separatists who according to reports were secretly talking to New Delhi to secure peace in Kashmir.

“Human rights violations and dialogue can not go together,” senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said.

Noor Ahmad Baba, dean of social sciences at Kashmir University told Reuters recently that India is ignoring the deep-rooted resentment and discontentment in Kashmir.

“If not seriously addressed, the situation may get seriously out of hand today, tomorrow or sometime in the immediate future,” Baba said.

Srinagar has been under siege for the past five days, senior separatist leaders are either jailed or confined to their homes and dozens of activists have been arrested.

Pakistan-based militant groups have also stepped up efforts to infiltrate into the region.

If not checked, will rising tensions in Kashmir hurt fresh efforts to improve relations between India and Pakistan?


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What has Pakistan got to with Indian problems in Kashmir? How is Pakistan involved in this and why? Kashmir is certainly not part of Pakistan so why does Pakistan has to do anything with Kashmir. All they can claim is that they support Kashmir because they are Muslim brothers in peril. But then why dont the Pakistanis raise their voice against the Chinese human right abuses on Muslim uighers? Its as if Pakistan is forcefully entering into an argument with which it has no connection, no relation. They should take care of their part of Kashmir, which they have already converted into Punjab as per reports, and India will take care of its. Why should India/ Pakistan peace efforts have Kashmir in the agenda? Pakistan is just a spoiled brat who is tolerated by the West because of its geo-strategic usefullnes.

Posted by SunilKumar | Report as abusive

The fresh efforts are otherwise going to fail. India and Pakistan have been talking since past 60 years, nothing has come out. Tensions in Kashmir or no tensions…these talks are bound to fail and Kashmir will continue to bleed till its freedom.

Posted by shugufta | Report as abusive

million dollar question is how to contain this deep seated resentment & disillusionment of kashmires with indian state??see history is witness to the fact that after infamous august 1953 events of removal of prime minister of J&K Late sheikh Mohd. Abdullah (grand father of present j&k CM) & his imprisonment led this deep rooted anger & resentment.indian state apparatus were of opinion that with the passage of time & pumping huge money for developement ,kashmiris will get absorbed in indian union….but it never happened .no bakhshi,sadiq,qasim ,mufti,even farooq abdullah in his 2nd spell could help dehli…see mr.sheikh this resentment has remained in psyche of kashmiris post 1953 either in the form of plebiscite slogan,holy relic agitation ,election boycotts or armed struggle till date…even omar abdullah has openly mentioned the futility of developmental works alone in absence of political initiative while sharing dice with indian PM ..see unless both india & pak don’t realize the importance of resolution of k issue in their own interest with out of box solutions like scotland model,monoco etc or anything that suits subcontinent.but since there is lack of such will on either side, this type of situation is created in valley so that maximum advantage is taken by either side at forthcoming official level talks…but don’t worry they have to talk because geopolitics demands talks///////

Posted by waleekamil | Report as abusive

India Pakistan talks have failed since day one and i dont think this fresh turmoil has to do anything with it.both the nations never want this issue to resolve,so kashmir will continue losing its youth.

Posted by shanuzhat | Report as abusive

Kashmir. A beautiful name spoiled by unnecessary disputes. A reason of conflict and a reason for unrest. conflict for indo-pak and unrest for South Asia. The present turmoil
in valley and latest developments in Indo-Pak peace talks. No, it will not hurt the talks as it never did. It will only help both the parties prolong the time for simple solution like always. Whenever there is difference over any matter, the reason will be assigned to kashmir. Simply i would say that kashmir is a modern colonized nation.

Posted by emm99 | Report as abusive

I believe its unfortunate that situation is so bad out in kashmir. This is an important time as the two neighbours are on table after more than a year. Seperatists who were favouring indias quiet talks have now turned faces against india. This shows that things have started getting worse. All the hardwork India tried to take people into confidence has turned futile. Unprovoked killings will definately have its impact on the mutual talks.

Posted by moon55 | Report as abusive

Why should it hurt the talks. No wonder kashmir is a topic, but its not all that these talks are about. lots of issues stand between the two neighbours which need to be sorted. Agreed that situation in kashmir is bad, but it has been like this for decades. so lets hope all goes well and the condition improves.

Posted by ushiee | Report as abusive

my earlier comment was not posted. so again i say:

The present situation is very hurting and painful. Even more hurting is the way government has used its power to keep actual atrocities of indian militia (army) hidden by censorship of national news items. This is why many kashmiriz have left their hopes to pakistan which raises these concerns of atrocities committed on kashmiris. I hope and pray pakistan takes some step to help kashmir demilitarize and with present situation pakistan will have a stronger stand. lets hope this hut to talks moves in positive way.

Posted by ahtishaan11 | Report as abusive

kashmir tensions will not effect fresh India peace talks as long as both parties are sincere in there efforts to bring peace in the region, In case if it is a temporary remedy then obviously whatever is happening in Kashmir is going to effect Indo-Pak peace efforts.

Posted by ajaz123 | Report as abusive

surely not.. d reason is tat Pakistan is least interested in d welfare of Kashmiris.. it is evident by d fact tat it failed to project “true aspirations” of d ppl of Kashmir at all d World forums..
Pakistani establishment made a u-turn post 9/11 n joined d European/American chorus visa viz armed struggle started n sustained by Kashmiris..
Mr. journalist, d stone pelting n frequent strikes is nt resentment n anger(political) bt sheer frustration tat has spilled on d roads..

Posted by Umer.Asim | Report as abusive

I strongly believe pakistan has a role in the kashmir problem.But unfortunately so far there has been no consenses between the two countries.last two years in kashmir has given new direction to the freedom struggle of kashmiris,were now people are coming out and demanding their rights.Recent incidents have added more to it.In such a situation it will have some impact on the dialoge process between two countries.One has to understand(pakistan and india) is it for the peace in kashmir for which kashmiris are giving their blood or for the freedom and accordingly should they should intervene.

Posted by Aadil | Report as abusive

The kashmir issue continues to be a potboiler with little or no scope of improving either country’s foreign relations. Dialogues over the past years have only dissipated any hopes of establishing a peaceful region. On one hand you have the govt of Pakistan with a strong resolve to only refuse India’s claim on J&K and on the other, we have a country which is still trying to grapple with its domestic problems and probably leaves Kashmir at the bottom of its wish list. The media statements from the MEA only adds to the dilemma. Further talks will only prove to be futile and bide time, until another uproar is instigated by the seperatists. Kashmir- an ongoing battle with no hope or respite in sight.

Posted by Rocky_1 | Report as abusive

Dear Sheikh, as you earlier blog says that India considers Kashmir as its crown and and Pakistan its jugglers vein . So any trouble in Kashmir will underscore the future peace efforts by India and Pakistan. History is witness that these two countries are 60-year old enemies only because of Kashmir. So I am sure development in Kashmir will tell upon relations of these countries..

Posted by gul11 | Report as abusive

@If not checked, will rising tensions in Kashmir hurt fresh efforts to improve relations between India and Pakistan?”

Mr. Mushtaq:

Tension or no tension in Kashmir, India and Pakistan do not talk taking into view the situation in Kashmir.

Kashmiris need to get more smart and pragmatic; else see their next generation talking blood. Suicide bombing elsewhere in the world is a case in point that spilling blood even at that level is not a solution to any problem.

Right now Kashmiris talk of either being with Pakistan or India or complete freedom. Can someone here tell me where is the the scope of last option. I do not see anywhere nor do I see a reason. Would Pakistan allow AJK to be free? It is childish to think so. I also guess that Kashmirs will neither go to India or Pakistan (or china!), rather it will become autonomous 2 Kashmiri at maximum separated by soft border.

A common Kashmiri, their leaders and media should shove down the throat of next generation the goals that are achievable and then go for them. Times have changed, Kashmir has changed—so should the people. It is the Kashmiri leaders who are screwing Kashmiris; others are #2 problem. If suicide bombing else where does not get a problem solved, would stone pelleting do? I seriously think that Kashmiris need to get their basics right.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

Story of kashmir dispute has been like a fairy tail and to those generations who are yet to come .Land of kashmir could not produce a visionary leaders like Nelson Mandela ,Gandhi yaseer arafat which is a irony on the fate of kashmir.
Sincere efforts from both the ends could wash up this tenssion. But Neither india nor pakistan is sincere towards kashmir.
Kashmir tension can be a spark in oil but if sincerity prevails on both the ends it can go on to find the suitable solution for kashmir and its people .
umarnazir tibetbaqal

Posted by umarnazir | Report as abusive

From indian point of view Kashmir was never an issue with pakistan. Neither did and nor do india wish to make it an issue. Kashmir is raised by pakistan as its core issue with india. no talks will succeed until india agrees kashmir as disputed. for pakistan, the situation in kashmir is just akin international war crimes committed by indian forces and for india its just a matter of their internal law and order. so definately pakistan will blame indian forces which will not been agreed by india and ultimately talks will fail as it did all the time in past.

Posted by true112 | Report as abusive

i cant really comment whether the process will derail or not, but certainly i can wish eveything stays smooth. all the past years have been futile and waste. wastage of time, money and important lives. i wish and pray eveythin goes fine. kashmiriz live in peace wherever they live, india, pak, or independent.

Posted by usha.ch | Report as abusive

Strange. Who is india or pakistan to decide on kashmiriz? If someone would say that people elected the Govt. then the fact is that less than half of population casted their votes. which means majority of the people recoznize the government. Everything is strange. Its strange that someone comes to me and says u live in india/pakistan. i just want world without borders and the two countries are deciding where to locate the one. i m totaly against it

Posted by osman98 | Report as abusive

It has been the general trend so far. Mutual talks stalled at the point of kashmir. I heard that the talks are un-conditional and will go on whatever the ground situation is. I hope the countries mean it. It would be intresting to see the track of these talks after attack in pune. plus i agree with some point above, A common Kashmiri, their leaders and media should shove down the throat of next generation the goals that are achievable and then go for them

Posted by emm99 | Report as abusive

…. Just in…. Attack in pune…. another finger towards pakistan after 26/11…. BSF officer almost convicted in cold blooded murder of teen in kashmir….. jawans of both india n pak die in avalanche at siachen…… intresting developments….. lets see the reaction…. as i already said all is because of tough stand of both side…….. border dispute

Posted by osman98 | Report as abusive

Strange. Who is india or pakistan to decide on kashmiriz? osman98

Osman98: Kashmir leaders are useless as far as bringing the concerned parties on the table. Unfortunately they happen to be India and Pakistan. India cannot do unilateral. There is a Kashmir in Pakistan too and in China too (just land though).

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive