Ceasefire vi­o­la­tions

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL - Dr Far­rukh Saleem

THE key ques­tion is: Who is ini­ti­at­ing hos­til­i­ties - In­dia or Pak­istan? Here's the re­ported data on ma­jor ceasefire vi­o­la­tions: In Jan­uary there were four ma­jor vi­o­la­tions; one in Fe­bru­ary, one in April and two in May (there have been sev­eral mi­nor ones). In July-Au­gust, Pak­istan "ac­cused In­dia of 70 ceasefire vi­o­la­tions along the Line of Con­trol (LoC) and the in­ter­na­tional bor­der".

In 2015, twenty-two Pak­ista­nis lost their lives-two sol­diers and twenty civil- ians. On the other side of the bor­der, fif­teen In­di­ans lost their lives - six sol­diers and nine civil­ians.

Re­port­edly, each vi­o­la­tion by ei­ther side "trig­gers a heavy ex­change of mor­tar, rocket and ma­chine gun fire that usu­ally goes on for sev­eral hours." The month of Au­gust has seen a def­i­nite spike. The In­dian en­voy in Is­lam­abad was sum­moned by the For­eign Of­fice for the fourth time in a week. In­dia and Pak­istan con­tinue to ac­cuse each other.

United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon has now ex­pressed "se­ri­ous con­cern about the re­cent es­ca­la­tion of vi­o­lence" and has called "upon the gov­ern­ments of In­dia and Pak­istan to exer- cise max­i­mum re­straint." Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent New York Times ed­i­to­rial, these ceasefire vi­o­la­tions "could spi­ral out of con­trol and set off another war be­tween the two nu­clear-armed ad­ver­saries."

Who is ini­ti­at­ing hos­til­i­ties - In­dia's Bor­der Se­cu­rity Force (BSF) or Pak­istan Rangers? Back in 1949, the United Na­tions must have had the same ques­tion in mind. In 1949, the UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral ap­pointed a mil­i­tary ad­viser to com­mand the United Na­tions Mil­i­tary Ob­server Group in In­dia and Pak­istan (UNMOGIP). On Jan­uary 24, 1949 the first con­tin­gent of United Na­tions mil­i­tary observers ar­rived in the 'mis­sion area'.

UNMOGIP is man­dated to "ob­serve, to the ex­tent pos­si­ble, de­vel­op­ments per­tain­ing to the strict ob­ser­vance of the ceasefire…and to re­port thereon to the Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral." This year's ap­pro­pri­a­tion stands at a whole­some $19.6 mil­lion and UNMOGIP's cur­rent strength is 43 mil­i­tary observers, 25 in­ter­na­tional civil­ian per­son­nel and 47 lo­cal civil­ian staff. UNMOGIP's mil­i­tary per­son­nel be­long to Chile, Croa­tia, Fin­land, Ghana, Philip­pines, Re­pub­lic ofKorea, Swe­den, Switzer­land, Thai­land and Uruguay.

Who is ini­ti­at­ing hos­til­i­ties - In­dia or Pak­istan? I linked up with Brian Clough­ley, a re­tired lieu­tenant colonel of the Aus­tralian Army who was the deputy com­man­der of UNMOGIP in 1980-1982 and then re­turned to Pak­istan six years later as the de­fence at­taché at the Aus­tralian High Com­mis­sion.

Ques­tion: Who is ini­ti­at­ing hos­til­i­ties - In­dia or Pak­istan? Clough­ley: The only means to know the right an­swer is to em­ploy neu­tral observers. And there are UN neu­tral observers in place; the UNMOGIP, which is tasked to su­per­vise the ceasefire in Jammu and Kash­mir. They should ob­serve and re­port, in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints of ceasefire vi­o­la­tions and sub­mit its find­ings to each party and to the sec­re­tary-gen­eral. The du­ties of UNMOGIP have not been al­tered by the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, the only body legally em­pow­ered to do so. But In­dia re­fuses to ac­knowl­edge the Mis­sion and will not co­op­er­ate with it. Pak­istan, on the other hand, co­op­er­ates fully.

Ques­tion: What about the armed con­flict that took place in the Kargil dis­trict? Clough­ley: If the In­di­ans had per­mit­ted UNMOGIP to func­tion then the Kargil war would not have hap­pened be­cause UN observers would have de­tected all the move­ment. "If we could read the se­cret history of our en­e­mies, we should find in each man's life sor­row and suf­fer­ing enough to dis­arm all hos­til­ity" - Henry Wadsworth Longfel­low.

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