18 August 2000 Kashmir: Aborted Cease-Fire Provides Fodder For Indo-Pak
Kashmir: Aborted Cease-Fire Provides Fodder For Indo-Pak Media War
The cease-fire offered, implemented, and subsequently withdrawn by the Kashmiri insurgent group, Hizbul Mujahideen, generated scores of editorials in India and Pakistan. These opinion pieces illustrated the deep skepticism, and often hostility, with which journalists in the Subcontinent view the actions and pronouncements of their neighbor and rival. While the majority of Pakistani commentators treated the ceasefire as a sincere and daring peace initiative on the part of a group "inclined towards negotiations," their Indian counterparts tended to see it as a "ruse," almost certainly cooked up by a Pakistani government that, according to a writer in the centrist Hindu, "is not interested in any serious peace process." Indian papers analyzed the cease-fire breakdown and the subsequent string of vicious bombings under the rubric of domestic unrest, not unheard of in India's multi-ethnic society, which was being orchestrated and exacerbated by Pakistan. Pakistani writers uniformly discussed Kashmir as an international crisis (citing UN resolutions and U.S. statements as proof) the solution to which requires a Pakistani seat at the Kashmir negotiating table. Both sides welcomed an active U.S. role, provided that the U.S. used its influence only to pressure its adversary. Illustrative views follow:
HARSH WORDS: The rhetoric employed by some Indo-Pak editorialists during the last ten days was remarkably bellicose. In India, for example, pro-nationalist Rashtriya Sahara exhorted "For India this is the time to act. The time has come to crush the enemy." Mumbai-based, independent Afternoon Despatch & Courier advocated retaliating against Pakistan by starting "a proxy war in Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK)...to get back our territory which has been seized by Pakistan and has remained in its illegal possession." In Pakistan, the second largest Urdu language daily Nawa-e-Waqt concluded that "It has become evident that the Kashmir dispute has only one solution and that is to force India to leave Jammu and Kashmir through Jihad." Sensationalist Ummat similarly declared "Jihad is the only way left to reply to Indian obduracy."
THE CASE FOR RESTRAINT: In India, many writers, often citing the nuclear threat, advocated tough bargaining coupled with military restraint. India's nationalist Hindustan Times pointed out that "India's case in Kashmir is at present better appreciated by the international community, not least because of the remarkable restraint India has shown towards a hostile adversary." Several Indian observers responded to calls by their countrymen for Pakistan to be branded a "terrorist state," countering that "Pakistan needs help, not isolation, which would make it even more dangerously belligerent." On the other side of the divide, an editorial in the pro-Muslim League Pakistan made an "appeal to the Hizbul Mujahideen, other Jihadi organizations and Pakistan to be patient and rational," adding that "all parties to the dispute and the world powers have a responsibility to make possible peaceful political dialogue."
EDITOR: Stephen Thibeault
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 58 reports from India and Pakistan August 9-18.
INDIA: "Predictable Pakistan"
The nationalist Hindustan Times said (8/18): "It comes as no surprise that political parties in Pakistan should reject Gen. Pervez Musharraf's plan for a 'democracy.' Military governments in Pakistan have routinely sought to suppress the soul of democracy by thinking up schemes supposedly to elicit popular opinion, but with the real purpose of perpetuating the rule of men in khaki."
"Because They Are Just Like Us"
Columnist Saeed Naqvi wrote in the centrist Indian Express (8/18): "Unless the Pakistani people are brought into play through a democratic process, Gen. Pervez Musharraf is in no position to take any step that would defuse tension in Kashmir. Not only is he surrounded by the most militant variety of clergy, he is himself a creature of that lot. In the absence of popular participation, the 16 odd militant groups, under the umbrella of the United Jihad Council will only gain in influence and power. With every passing day, it is not Gen. Musharraf who is tightening his grip on the affairs of the state but it is the militant clerics who will expand their base and tighten the noose around Gen. Musharraf's neck up to the point where he can inhale and exhale only at their will."
"After The Aborted Ceasefire"
V. R. Raghavan observed in the centrist Hindu (8/18): "A cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir would have been an unthinkable possibility even a year ago. That it nearly came into being is a measure of the distance covered by the political-military conflict in the state. The cease-fire offer had not come about in a vacuum. The mood of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, the pragmatism of some militant elements who realize the limits of militancy and a growing awareness of the human and social costs of the armed movement, have all combined to the first step in the form of a cease-fire offer. The end of the first cease-fire is not the end of the search for a way forward."
"The General's Elections"
Srinagar correspondent Kamal Siddiqi offered this analysis in the centrist Indian Express (8/18): "The devolution of powers plan unveiled by Pakistan's strongman, General Pervez Musharraf, earlier this week is an ambitious attempt by the government to devolve power to the grassroots level. While this is a welcome step in theory, the impression (is) that the government is going overboard in its attempts to keep political forces away from the polls. It is no surprise, therefore, that most political parties have rejected an otherwise ambitious program.... The manner in which the military junta is trying to keep out politicians from the voting process begs the question as to whether democracy is what the military has in mind. As things stand, it seems that this may just not be what will come the Pakistanis' way when the men in khaki move out. In effect, nothing would have changed. While the military cannot understand why Pakistanis are insistent on electing the same old corrupt politicians one after the other, its solution to this has raised more questions than it has been able to answer.
"Two-Pronged Strategy For Kashmir"
The Mumbai-based, left-of-center Free Press Journal asserted (8/18): "The need to isolate Pakistan by offering the sop of peace and autonomy to genuine Kashmiris within the overall
framework of the Indian federation was the only sensible way out of the current mess in
Kashmir. However, it is important to enter a caveat here. Which is that the arduous search for opening fresh channels of communications with the Kashmiri militants and other misguided
elements in the Valley should not result in any let-up in the drive to silence the guns of the Pak-inspired terrorists. The fight against terrorists and the search for a negotiated peace should go on simultaneously."
"A Proxy War In PoK"
Mumbai-based, independent Afternoon Dispatch & Courier (8/17): "What we can do now-- is perhaps to start a proxy war in Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK). There are quite a few secessionists in PoK too and we too can find enough people to act as paid agents and to start a campaign against the government. We can also play the same dirty, violent game. There has never been democracy in PoK. The entire region has been ruled from Islamabad. There is a great deal of discontent among the youth. There is large scale unemployment and poverty. The people in PoK cannot be unaware of the higher standard of living enjoyed by people in Jammu and Kashmir thanks to the special concessions, and facilities provided for the area by the center. Under the circumstances, a proxy war in PoK is likely to be more successful. It is time we adopted effective and novel methods to get back our territory which has been seized by Pakistan and has remained in its illegal possession."
The nationalist Hindustan Times cautioned (8/17): "[Some figures] associated with the government have revived the old concept of 'hot pursuit' into Pakistan.... forays into Pakistan will carry the threat of a wider conflict which, apart from its nuclear connotation, will convert the Kashmir problem into an Indo-Pakistani one in the eyes of the world, with India sharing a major part of the blame for having started it. Any Indian emulation of such steps will reinforce the American tilt for Pakistan. They are also uncalled for at a time when India's case is better appreciated than ever before."
The centrist Asian Age remarked (8/17): "Both India and Pakistan share the same suspicions and distrust of each other, and are not prepared at this stage to exercise the necessary level of sagacity and restraint in dealing with the situation. There is no let up in Pakistan's efforts to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir, with its President now seeking the intervention of the international community to resolve the issue. While the war noises on Kashmir are probably necessary for General Musharraf to keep his countrymen happy, and Vajpayee to keep his constituency pacified, there is an entire domestic agenda that needs to be looked at and worked upon."
"A Diplomatic Track On Kashmir"
C. Raja Mohan asserted in the centrist Hindu (8/17): "The lesson from Lahore is simple--Islamabad has no desire to respect any bilateral agreements with India. Nor is it interested in any serious peace process. India does not have the option of an all-out war with Pakistan in which it can inflict a resounding defeat and impose a final solution for Kashmir. Having understood this instinctively, India's strategy has been to cope with cross-border terrorism and ignore Pakistan.... The Kargil crisis saw an important shift in the U.S. approach, which forced Pakistan to unconditionally and unilaterally withdraw from across the Line of Control. Since then the U.S. has argued that the status quo in Kashmir cannot be changed by use of force."
"Two Freedoms, Two Celebrations"
Calcutta's Bengali Ananda Bazar Patrika claimed (8/17): "The Pakistani rulers' threats of
nuclear war over Kashmir are surely held out after looking at international powers, especially at Washington. Establishing Kashmir as one of the areas of 'nuclear danger' would increase pressures for international intervention, which is desirable to Pakistan but detrimental to India. No matter what the target, their statement only proves how dangerous the consequences of an immature autocracy's possessing nuclear arms could be."
The centrist Times of India pointed out (8/16): "India has adopted a defensive strategy with regard to Pakistani cross-border terrorism. Such a posture may not appear very pro-active, but it is effective. Even if Pakistan is willing to use nuclear blackmail to raise the ante in Kashmir, New Delhi is wise in not playing this dangerous game. Mature reflection makes it clear that any 'hot pursuit' option carries with it the risk of a wider war. Even in the worst years of the uprising in the mid-1990s, India refrained from cross-border attacks. To do it now, when the payoff of the restraint in Kargil is so manifest, would be to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. "
"Resolve Of Steel"
The centrist Pioneer noted (8/16): "Pakistan's proxy war seeks to balkanize India by fomenting secessionist violence along its multiple social, ethnic, communal and other faultlines. India's ability to counter the threat will to a large extent depend on its ability to devise an adequate strategic and tactical response in military, administrative and diplomatic terms.
"Kashmir Will Always Be An Indian State"
Defense correspondent Wilson John fulminated in the centrist Pioneer (8/16): "It is high time we shed our defensive posture. Adopt a covert, offensive stance and bleed Musharraf and his likes. On the diplomatic front, we need to queer the pitch. Pakistan has to be painted as a terrorist state in all the international fora. There is already a formidable international opinion against Pakistan for its overt support to Islamic terrorism. We need to stoke that fire of suspicion. We need to capitalize on it."
"Sunshine And Shadow"
The nationalist Hindustan Times argued (8/15): "Even in Kashmir, India's case is at present better appreciated by the international community, not least because of the remarkable restraint it has shown towards a hostile adversary, [who is] motivated by a deep sense of insecurity and guided by fundamentalist venom. A solution in Kashmir will remove the last shackle from India's feet. It is probably this realization which makes its enemies try so desperately to keep the fires of terrorism burning in the Valley."
"Pak Waves Kashmir Nuclear Red Flag"
Diplomatic Correspondent Pranay Sharma reported in the centrist Telegraph (8/15): "Washington was very supportive of the initiative taken by the Indian leadership to start a dialogue with the militants in Kashmir, but it is also keen to see the resumption of dialogue between Delhi and Islamabad.... However...the United States will leave it totally to the leaders of India and Pakistan to decide which was a good time to renew dialogue.... The United States, which has continued to maintain a 'friendly relation' with Pakistan, may use 'some influence' in 'pulling it back' from supporting cross-border terrorism in Kashmir."
"An Introspection By A Nationalist"
Former Congressional legislator Sisir Kumar Bose wrote in Ananda Bazar Patrika (8/15): "The main hindrance to South Asia's peace and prosperity is the Kashmir problem. The problem has become deeply-rooted and with religious, regional, ethnic and socio-economic causes intertwined, it has taken on a dangerous proportion. Efforts should be made in bringing each and every organization, however militant they are, to the negotiating table."
Rahul Shivshankar advised in the centrist Times of India (8/15): "To prevent Pakistan going the way of Afghanistan, it is necessary that the country not be isolated. The international community, especially the United States must aid those in Pakistan who are urging people to adopt systems that integrate the country into the international community and make it a viable and modern state. The fact that the electorate in Pakistan has time and again rejected radical Islamic parties is by itself reason enough for India and the international community to engage Pakistan. A 'waiting game' will only strengthen radical Islamic groups and help them to power."
"Declare Pakistan A Terrorist State"
An editorial in pro-nationlist Dainik Hindustan declared (8/14): "In light of the recent developments in Kashmir, Western nations, particularly the United States, should declare Pakistan a terrorist state.... The United States and Britain have blamed the Hizbul for the violent incidents, as well as aborting the talks. If they turn a blind eye to Pakistan's diabolical activities, then the situation will worsen and Indo-Pakistan relations could reach a dangerous flashpoint.... The United States, on its part, must decide quickly about Pakistan. If there is a confrontation between the two nuclear-capable nations, then India should not be blamed."
"Pakistan Goes Berserk"
Right-of-center Dainik Jagran stated (8/14): "Pakistan is clearly responsible for the car bomb tragedy which took so many lives in Srinagar. All terrorism in Kashmir is Pakistan's handiwork. Unfortunately, the international community refuses to acknowledge this and declare Pakistan a terrorist state. Religious terrorism must be crushed before it gets out of hand and endangers world peace.... Not that the United States and Britain do not know about Pakistan's shenanigans."
"Fight Fire With Fire"
Pro-nationalist Rashtriya Sahara exhorted (8/14): "Islamabad knows only too well that an Indo-Pak war may result in serious losses for India, but will completely destroy Pakistan. Its strategy is, therefore, to provoke New Delhi into including Pakistan in the talks while at the same time carefully avoiding a war.... For India this is the time to act. The time has come to crush the enemy. We must get our act together quickly! It is now or never."
An editorial in pro-BJP Rajasthan Patrika advised (8/14): "In view of the current tense scenario in Kashmir, India should give its security forces in the state a free hand.... Hizbul chief Salauddin's exhorting the Pakistani forces to attack India demonstrates the militants' proximity to the Pakistani Army. Actually, they are two sides of the same coin and should not be seen as separate entities."
"Crafting A Peace Process"
The centrist Hindu argued (8/14): "The expectation that a peace process could take root within days in the Valley, just because the governments in New Delhi and Srinagar had all of a sudden decided to speak the language of peace and reconciliation, was unrealistic and at odds with the ground realities.... Another aspect of the Government's attitude to Kashmir that is cause for concern is its failure to harness an internal political consensus on the approach to the Kashmir question. The danger in New Delhi's increasing dependence on Washington to share its perspective of issues and events in the subcontinent is that it dilutes the Government's credibility as a sovereign interlocutor in the context of building a peace process in Kashmir. "
"No Alternative To War To Resolve Kashmir Issue"
Centrist, Mumbai-based Samkaleen asserted (8/14): "Now even Hizbul Mujahideen believes the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved without a full-fledged war with India. Hizbul chief Saiyed Salaluddin has challenged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpyee to a full scale war with Pakistan. It is time. Vajpayee accepted this challenge. The Kashmir situation is grim, and it demands a radical move to end the violence there permanently."
"Hizbul Back To Its Game"
The Mumbai edition of left-of-center Lokmat said (8/14): "After braking its ongoing dialogue with India by using its demand for involving Pakistan in these talks as a ruse, Hizbul Mujahideen has reverted to its violent ways in the Kashmir Valley. The Hizbul and other militant outfits are striking at will in the Valley, raising the question whether there is any governance left in Kashmir and whether the Indian government has any strategy or action backed plan to deal with the neverending specter of terrorism in the valley."
"An Unholy War"
The centrist Times of India noted (8/14): "If The Washington Times has got its facts right, some 1.75 million young men are currently being trained in thousands of madrasaas in Pakistan for waging a jihad in Kashmir and other parts of the world. The goal seems to be to spread terror across the globe, the ultimate target of the jihadis--and no prizes for guessing this--being the United States.... The United States and other Western countries can push Pakistan towards peace, but conditions for sustaining that peace must exist within Pakistan. Islamabad has to realize that the jihad it sponsors is an unholy war against its own people."
"Pulls And Pressures In Pakistan"
Muralidhar Reddy conjectured in the centrist Hindu (8/13): "Perhaps Islamabad did not envisage a quick response from India to the Hizbul move. And when Delhi responded, came the counter from Islamabad in the form of conditionalities for talks. The rhetoric from Islamabad reached a new pitch once the Hizbul announced the August 8 deadline. Perhaps the pressures on the domestic front forced the Musharraf government to take a tough stand."
"The Logic Of Self-interest"
Centrist Asian Age's editor-in-chief M.J. Akbar observed (8/13): "Washington wants peace over Kashmir, but it does not care very much on whose terms this peace arrives.... There are whispers in Delhi, which obviously cannot be substantiated but still are indicative of the mood, that the Americans have made it clear that the quality of Vajpyee's reception in Washington next month will depend on how much progress we have made in resolving the Kashmir problem and accepting the CTBT, the two being interrelated by the threat of a nuclear conflict in the region."
"Keep The Lines Open"
Senior editor Manoj Joshi offered this analysis in the centrist Times of India (8/12): "The offer of a ceasefire was made in Srinagar, but the withdrawal was announced in Islamabad. The barbaric response to the ceasefire declaration came in the form of systematic massacres by groups that are headquartered in Pakistan. Instead of condemning the massacres, officials in Islamabad fudged the issue.... By upping the ante when it did, Pakistan ensured that the talks never reached the stage of dialogue on ways to bring peace to the state. There are reasons to believe that the public announcement of the ceasefire and the talks are only the tip of a much larger effort that has been undertaken by Indian and U.S. officials to bring around Pakistan and the Hizbul."
"Another Step Back"
The centrist Indian Express observed (8/12): "Thursday's twin blasts in Srinagar have left an especially spine-chilling echo. It has unequivocally been made clear the wise men in Pakistan who plot murder and carnage in Jammu and Kashmir will not tolerate even the faintest of possibilities of peace in the state. The escalation in violence in recent weeks can be directly traced to the atmosphere of conciliation the centre has been able to create.... Certainly, Pakistan's Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf has famously voiced his commitment to Indo-Pak dialogue. But his sincerity is rightly suspect."
"We Salute The Martyrs"
Mumbai-based, left-of-center Free Press Journal observed (8/12): "Gen. Musharraf just cannot afford to talk tough to the fundamentalists and the mercenaries without facing a challenge from them. These elements are becoming more and more powerful at the expense of the state. A sizable section of the Pakistan army is also on their side. Gen. Musharraf's survival depends on supporting them. In order to cover up their internal helplessness, the army rulers would put their dangerous proxy belligerence in top gear. The United States and other members of the world community have to recognize Pakistan's suicidal course. Nothing short of declaring Pakistan as a terrorist state would knock any sense into the heads of the rulers of Islamabad."
"The Slide Back Into Terrorism"
The centrist Hindu declared (8/12): "The car bomb blast in Srinagar on Thursday proclaims loud and clear that it is back to square one on the insurgency front in Jammu and Kashmir.... The multi-pronged endeavour to frustrate the militants' attempts to kill or otherwise strike terror should continue alongside the moves for finding a political solution through a constructive dialogue with various groups and interests concerned."
"Parleys With The Enemy"
Nationalist Hindustan Times observed (8/12): "What is still favoring India so far as international opinion is concerned is its restrained attitude. It demonstrated this level-headedness by agreeing to talk even outside the constitutional parameters with Hizbul. Now it has shown this again by being willing to talk even to a military regime in Pakistan as long as it desists from indulging in cross-border terrorism."
An editorial in the centrist Times of India asserted (8/11): "The ceasefire has ended with a vengeance. These attacks are more a sign of defiance than a mere act of terror. In fact, what yesterday's blasts prove is that Pakistan will not give peace, and those who propose it, a chance.... Increased terrorism in the valley would not only make it more difficult to continue informal negotiations but also force the so-called moderates into hardening their stance. General Musharraf cannot afford to show any signs of vacillation on Pakistan's position on the Kashmir issue. Any ambiguity would, undoubtedly, alienate hardliners within the Pakistan army and many others who benefit from keeping the festering wounds open.... Today Islamabad's intransigence stands exposed: It will never agree to peace of its own accord. This makes it inevitable that India use its improved image within the international community to make the world understand that Pakistan needs help, not isolation, which would make it even more dangerously belligerent."
The nationalist Hindustan Times declared (8/11): "Pakistan's control over Kashmiri militants and its desire to be the arbiter of the fate of the Kashmiri people has become more than apparent in its scuttling of the cease-fire process between the largest indigenous militant group, the Hizbul Mujahideen, and India.... The Pakistani position in retrospect seems to have been duplicitous--claiming to favor the peace process while at the same time supporting the forces which wanted to destabilize it through terror tactics. Under these circumstances, if the cease-fire agreement between India and the Hizbul Mujahideen had succeeded, it would have represented, to borrow a phrase from Henry Kissinger, 'the triumph of hope over experience.'"
PAKISTAN: "India's Non Compromising Attitude"
Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Jasarat declared (8/18): "It was initially believed that the United States would pressure India to initiate dialogue with Pakistan but this has proven wrong. The United States does not have any intention to pressure India, therefore the idea that India could be made to negotiate by using the good offices of the United States should be given up. It is a result of these American policies that, contrary to the past where both countries had several rounds of talks, now there is no chance for any such parleys. It is high time for Pakistan either to give up Kashmir or to pursue its Kashmir policy with much greater vigor and support the Kashmir jihad fully and practically."
"Pakistan's Forthright Posture On Kashmir"
Sensationalist Ummat (8/18): "Fully abreast of the support it has from the United States, besides Russia, India has further stiffened its posture on Kashmir. The international media has openly admitted that the United States is pressuring Pakistan's military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf to end hostilities along the Line of Control despite the fact that it should have applied this pressure on India. Nevertheless, Gen. Musharraf has not deviated from his declared posture on Kashmir, which is very heartening to note. If he continues to neglect U.S. pressure and does not relent in his policy, then the Kashmiri Mujahideen will soon achieve their objective with the moral and active support of Pakistan and other Muslim states."
The Lahore-based, English language Sun (8/18): "Addressing the National Democratic Institute in Washington, President Clinton said the other day that if the countries of the sub-continent did not settle their differences, nothing could be said about the prospects of the region's
development in the 21st century.... It is encouraging that President Clinton realizes that the sub-continent's political instability is a threat to world peace and to the region's development.... It is necessary for India and Pakistan to dampen the nuclear arms race in South Asia. The U.S. administration should press the two countries to start a dialogue over Kashmir, for without the resolution of the Kashmir issue it is futile to expect peace in the region."
Mahdi Masud in Karachi-based, independent, national Dawn argued (8/17): "The fact that the West tends to judge others by their alleged acts and itself by its stated professions, is one of the sad ironies of international life. The United States dispatched half a million troops for the ostensible purpose of implementing UN resolutions on Kuwait while the resolutions on Kashmir are treated as of no account."
"President Clinton's Letter And His Responsibility"
An editorial in the second largest Urdu paper Nawa-e-Waqt asserted (8/12): "Instead of writing letters and stressing the need for bilateral talks between Pakistan and India, President Clinton should stress to India that it shun obstinacy and conduct a dialogue with Pakistan about the Kashmir dispute.... The danger of war will be ever increasing until an unconditional dialogue is begun [between India and Pakistan] with the United States playing a positive role. Does the U.S. president feel any responsibility in this respect? The subcontinent's peaceful future rests on a positive response to this question."
"Possibilities Of Indo-Pak Dialogue"
An editorial in Lahore's popular Din observed (8/12): "Vajpayee's statement that democracy is Pakistan's internal matter and that India is prepared to hold talks with the Musharraf government signals that the BJP government is adopting a realistic stance.... This statement increases the possibility of a direct meeting between Vajpayee and Musharraf during the UN General Assembly session in September. Perhaps this would pave the way for a meaningful dialogue on Kashmir and other issues."
"Japanese Ambassador's Stance"
Sensationalist Khabrain advised (8/12): "The Japanese prime minister is arriving in Pakistan on August 21.... Pakistan must stress to the Japanese government the need for it to exert influence on India to solve the Kashmir issue so that regional tensions come to an end and that the threat of a nuclear war is eliminated. The Kashmir issue can be resolved if Japan and the United States put pressure on India. Japan must support Pakistan's principled stance on this issue."
Clinton's Peace Plan"
Sensationalist Khabrain said (8/11): "In a letter, President Clinton has stressed the need to resume peace efforts between India and Pakistan. At the same time, a U.S. spokesman has expressed disappointment at the end of cease-fire between the Indian government and the Hizbul Mujahideen.... It is clear proof of U.S. hypocrisy that it considers Indo-Pak tension to be a nuclear threat, but does nothing concrete to end this tension.... President Clinton should not rest at having written letters but must ensure that dialogue takes place. Otherwise his peace initiative will go to waste."
An editorial in the center-right national Nation said (8/11): "The U.S. is gently nudging India towards the tripartite talks formula which was the basis of the Hizb truce offer and whose rejection by India led to the early collapse of the first concrete peace move on Kashmir.... If there is any genuine political will in New Delhi to see the end of the bloodshed in Kashmir, the path of tripartite dialogue, as suggested by the U.S. State Department spokesman, is still available. But not indefinitely.
"End Of Cease-fire, A Result Of Indian Intransigence,"
The second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt complained (8/10): "Taking its cue from India, the United States described the UN resolutions as redundant and repeatedly demanded dialogue [on Kashmir] on a new foundation. The Hizbul Mujahideen took the risk and provided the new foundation; India did not budge, though. Now it has become evident that the Kashmir dispute has only one solution and that is to force India to leave Jammu and Kashmir through Jihad."
"Beginning Afresh Of The Armed Struggle"
An editorial in the pro-Muslim League Pakistan cautioned (8/10): "The United States and other world powers have, time and again warned that Kashmir has become a nuclear flash point.... India has the basic responsibility in this regard. We appeal to the Hizbul Mujahideen, other Jihadi organizations and Pakistan to be patient and rational.... All the parties to the dispute and the world powers have the responsibility to make possible peaceful political dialogue."
"Indian Stubbornness: A Golden Chance For Peace Goes Waste"
The popular Din declared (8/10): It is a fact that the Hizbul Mujahideen announced their decision for a cease-fire not to take a breather from the fighting, nor due to any external pressure, but of their own free will. As a peace loving country, Pakistan's only proposal to the international community was to persuade India to agree to meaningful dialogue. It is unfortunate that instead of responding to the Mujahideen's peace offer, the Indian government caused the massacre of pilgrims in Pehlgam through its military and intelligence agencies so as to harass the Kashmiri Mujahideen further."
The Lahore-base, English language Sun (8/10): "Though not quite unexpected, the cease-fire withdrawal by the Hizbul Mujahideen could have been averted but for India's stubbornness with its unrealistic demands for talks within its constitution, exclusion of Pakistan and its insensitivity towards the imperatives of peace in South Asia.... With the two nuclear countries facing each other eyeball to eyeball, it would be unwise for India to maintain its intransigence and avoid responding to peace overtures in kind."
"End Of Cease-fire Announcement By Hizbul Mujahideen"
Leading, mass circulation advised Jang (8/10): "The United States and other countries should use all their political and economic influence to pressure India to agree to a meaningful tripartite talk on Kashmir."
"Withdrawal Of Cease-fire By Hizbul Mujahideen"
Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Jasarat argued (8/10): "To some it may seem an emotional slogan but it is a hard reality that Kashmir can only be liberated through Jihad. If today India is seriously thinking about the Kashmir issue and the United States wants to play some role [to solve the crises] it is only due to the Jihad and the sacrifices rendered by the Mujahideen (freedom fighters)."
"Jihad--The Only Solution"
Sensationalist Ummat contended (8/10): "History is witness to the fact that all efforts to solve the Kashmir issue through dialogue has been futile over the last 53 years. The attitude of the U.S. and India amply demonstrate that they only believe in a verbal demand of peaceful dialogue from Pakistan but nurture a bias against the Muslims. Jihad is the only way left to reply to Indian obduracy."
"Death of An Initiative"
Karachi-based, independent, national Dawn noted (8/10): "After all, it was the Hizb which had made a big concession by announcing a cease-fire not at the end of a negotiating process, as might have been expected, but even before any talks had started.... After Vajpayee's statement that no decision will be taken outside the Constitution, what was left for the Hizb to talk about?"
"Ball in Delhi's Court"
The centrist, national News observed (8/10): "The lucid interval provided by the Hizb's earlier cease-fire declaration underlines the inclination of the Kashmir groups towards a negotiated settlement. If Delhi could be a little more realistic and flexible in its approach towards Kashmir, the dialogue process can start again. Not for the first time, the ball is in Delhi's court."
The center-right, national Nation held (8/10): "The United States' main interest in Kashmir is to avert its developing into a nuclear flashpoint, as was indicated in the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on the subject, and its assessment is that the Kashmir issue must be resolved to achieve this end. The United States' reaction to the to the end of the cease-fire has been blandly neutral and gives no indication of accepting that the real problem lies in New Delhi."
"New Delhi's Game Plan"
The Lahore-based, English language Sun said (8/9): "The measures taken by New Delhi so far have been devoid of any substance.... The reason why New Delhi does not want to involve Islamabad in the dialogue is that it does not want to give Kashmiris their UN-mandated right to self-determination.... Therefore, as a first step, New Delhi must re-engage Islamabad in a dialogue on the core issue of Kashmir."
"One Step Forward, Two Back"
M.H. Askari wrote in Karachi-based, independent, national Dawn (8/9): "By all accounts, even while agreeing to talk to the Hizbul Mujahideen, India is sticking to its old stance of seeking an 'internal' solution to the Kashmir problem. In his latest statements to parliament, Vajpayee has made this all too plain, disregarding the Hizbul's and other militant groups' likely reaction to it.
That puts a big question mark on the likely outcome of the substantive part of the peace talks, if and when that process gets underway."
"Kashmir Cease-fire: The Other Side,"
Brigadier (Retd.) A.R. Siddiqi noted in the center-right national Nation (8/9): "Bitterly critical of India's 'delaying tactics,' the Hizbul supreme commander would give India yet another chance to prove its sincerity and serious intent to get down to business without further loss of time. He said: 'The time factor is important for us, but I am not setting any deadline.' Words of rare sagacity coming as they do from a supremely motivated Mujahid fighting for a sacred cause."
"Monitoring Of Kashmir Developments"
Tahir Mirza reported in Karachi-based, independent, national Dawn (8/9): "There is the added speculation as to whether there will be a Clinton-Musharraf meeting, and Pakistan should by now have put in a formal request to the U.S. government seeking such a meeting. However, the fate of this too perhaps hinges on whether Vajpayee will be agreeable to a meeting with the general. If he is, then it is quite possible that Clinton may be tempted to be seen with the two leaders, and a one-to-one round of negotiations with the general may also materialize."
"Aborted Or Alive?"
Najmuddin A. Shaikh made the following points in the centrist, national News (8/9): "It would be a pity, nay a tragedy, for the Kashmiris, who ultimately pay the price, if this courageous initiative is frittered away. It will be many a day before those who risked their reputations and perhaps their careers encouraging and endorsing this step will muster the nerve to do so again. The Kashmiri struggle, may wax and wane, as is the wont of all such movements, but as the foregoing facts show the struggle is largely Kashmiri."