Islamabad, Oct 9 :
Saying India and Pakistan were not ready to back down in Kashmir, a Pakistani newspaper hinted Thursday that their security establishments were to blame for the border clashes.
“With the blame game continuing and with few independent sources to verify how violence broke out, there is a sense that both sides are determined not to back down,” the Dawn said in an editorial.
But “it is difficult to see why either side would want the conflict to spiral out of control”, it added.
The editorial said the India-US bonhomie during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Washington “may have encouraged the Indian security establishment to pile further pressure on Pakistan”.
“Meanwhile, on the Pakistan side, that very tone of Modi’s visit and the successful inclusion of Pakistan-specific militancy concerns in the joint US-India statement may have rankled (Pakistan), and sections of the security establishment here may have decided that India, and the world at large, needs reminding that the Kashmir dispute is still very much alive and a flashpoint that should invite international attention,” it added.
Saying the “worst sufferer is the civilian population on either side of the divide”, the daily said: “There is a very real fear that more violence could result in more lives lost in the days ahead.”
It said that for Pakistan, the Kashmir conflict cannot militarily be a goal at this juncture with the ongoing military operation against Taliban militants in North Waziristan and troop commitments in Fata region.
And for India, with elections due in Jammu and Kashmir, a “prolonged conflict should not be part of a winning electoral strategy”, added the editorial.
“Yet, logic often does not work as it should in this most disputed of regions and, occasionally, events in Kashmir are tied to wider struggles Pakistan and India may be engaging in.”
It said the Modi government had taken a tough line with Pakistan though Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wanted to pursue dialogue with New Delhi while “struggling with civil-military issues at home”.
“Purposeful and result-oriented contacts between the directors general of military operations of Pakistan and India can help dampen the violence” on the border, it said.
“But will the two countries decide to activate that option themselves, or will the international community have to put pressure behind the scenes?”
India and Pakistan blame each other for the continuing border clashes in Jammu and Kashmir which have left several civilians dead in both countries and caused strains in bilateral relations.