By Mazhar Iqbal///
Poor village women of Neelum Valley in Pakistan Administered Kashmir have strongly protested against the fragility of India-Pakistan peace process. The demonstration held in Athmuqam, a border town adjacent to Line of Control (Loc) in Jammu & Kashir on Wednesday.
The women are reportedly up in arms over recent tensions on the India-Pakistan border in divided satate of Jammu and Kashmir amid a poisonous spate of allegations from India and Pakistan against each other, purported media hype and a renewed terrorist activity in their area.
Local journalists have reported that a large number of women, thwarting the police barricade, approached the Pakistan Army Commanders in Athmuqam – the district headquarters of Neelum Valley – and urged the officers to take sincere steps in order to bring normalcy on Line of Control. Reportedly, the local commanders ensured them that they would convey the protest message to higher authorities in Pakistan government and interests of local population would be safeguarded against any aggression or
The main fear of the people who live in close proximity of the Line of Control is that tensions and cross border firing in their area would once again adversely affect the relative peace that has held on both sides of the Line of Control since 2003 ceasefire. With memories of regular crossfire along the LoC still fresh, their fear is that the heightened military activity across the Line of Control in the area would adversely affect their lives.
This protest was launched at the time when allegations from the Pakistan Army of unprovoked Indian firing across the Line of Control in Kashmir which caused killing of one of its officers and injured a soldier. A senior military official said the incident took place in Shakma sector near Skardu on the LoC. “A Pakistan Army officer, Captain Sarfraz, (was killed) due to unprovoked Indian firing. A solider was seriously injured due to the shelling,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.He claimed Indian troops started firing at 11.15 pm yesterday and the Pakistani side responded “effectively”. The exchange continued till 2.15 am this morning, he said. The two armies have blamed each other of several violations of a 2003 ceasefire on the LoC.
In the last few weeks there have been renewed tensions on Kashmir border. It was also reported earlier that five Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by Pakistani troops along the LoC about two weeks ago.