The line of control (LOC) refers to the military control line between India and Pakistan controlled territories of former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. The LOC is an artificial line which does not constitute a legally recognized international status and is a de facto border. The 742 km de facto border separating Pakistan and Indian administered Kashmir was drawn as a result of first Indo-Pak war of 1947-48, however was officially recognized in 1972 after third Indo-Pak war. The partition plan of 1947 was constituted to integrate the Muslim and Hindu majority territories into separate sovereign states. Thus, the Kashmir’s accession with Pakistan was probably a natural phenomenon based on its religious, demographic and ethnic affinities, however the Hindu ruler Maharaja Harri Singh clandestinely acceded the territory with India, which gave birth to persistent rivalry in South Asia.
To reverse the succession instrument indigenous peoples began a revolt against Dogra rule, which met with ruthless suppression. Pakistan intervened on behalf of Kashmiris and liberated one third territory, while remaining is controlled by India. Since, then Kashmiris are fighting against Indian cruel rule and to liberate their state, but India has deployed more than half a million army to crush the struggle for self-determination. The movement geared up since late 1980s which resulted the death of nearly one hundred thousand innocent Kashmiris.
Pakistan is a party of dispute and it always maneuver to integrate the valley of Kashmir. To resolve the dispute through military might, both states fought two full-fledged wars and a limited conflict over Kargil, which resulted in thousands of causalities. The Indo-Pak wars are disastrous for Kashmiris because whenever a conflict trigger, Kashmiris on both sides of LOC become the primary victims of military aggression. Therefore, here it is important to raise a question that why Line of Control turned into Line of Conflict between India and Pakistan and why it considered to be a death line for Kashmiris?
The Line of control turned into line of conflict because of egocentric approach of India and Pakistan. It is not a legal international border but is the effective boundary between the two countries. Both nuclear rivals claim that Kashmir is an integral part of their territories and are unwilling to find a realistic resolution which can terminate the misery of human beings in Jammu and Kashmir. The military adventure between two nations always began on LOC which consume thousands of innocent Kashmiris and their belongings including arsons and animals, who even are unconscious about war and peace. The soldiers on both sides does not make any distinction between humans and animals. The UN also failed to play substantial role in the sense of passing and implementing the resolutions for holding a fair and impartial plebiscite. As it holds the plebiscite in East Timor and some other cases.
The LOC is not only dividing two nations while it also dividing the individuals from their families residing in either Pakistan controlled Kashmir or Indian controlled Kashmir. Due to persistent tensions between two neighbors, families across the line cannot meet with their loved once which is a violation of international law for fundamental rights of individuals. The LOC is highly militarized border between two nuclear rivals and is subject for cross border terrorism. The porous border and rigid terrain across the LOC make easy for infiltrators to cross over for conducting terrorist activities. India accuse that Pakistani army and its intelligence wing offer support to militants to cross over in Jammu and Kashmir. Heavy cross border fire is a normal routine for both armies which sometimes leads to use of heavy arms. However, this act generally affect the residents across the LOC as cross border fire damage their property and other belongings.
After the Pulwama attack, India accused Pakistani state for sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir and announced to annihilate terror camps. Thus, later on Indian Airforce attacked Balakot city of Pakistan and claimed that it has killed some 350 militants. However, the attack was a serious violation of Pakistani sovereignty and Islamabad denounced to retaliate at its own time. A day later, Pakistan Airforce shot down the Indian fighter and captured Wing Commander. Meanwhile, this act intensified the cross border intrusions along the LOC in which many casualties were reported. The local media sources claimed that Haveli district, Keerni, Bhaidi, Fatehpur, Mandhar, Digwar, Chirikot, Bhimber sector, Tatta Pani, Abbaspur and Hajira sector on LOC received the intense aggression from both sides. The sources also claimed that more than ten civilians have been killed on Pakistani side and a number of houses were destroyed in cross border shelling.
The recent episode of high tensions between India and Pakistan proved that Line of Control is actually turned into “Line of Conflict”, because this border witnessed the profound engagement of two armies and civilians were to be subject of such activity. Although the international border also reported some escalations but those were not directed to harm civilian population. Therefore, it can be claimed that line of control is a death line for Kashmiris living across the both sides of border and they cannot escape from such incidents. It is therefore, recommended to governments of both nations to deescalate the current episode of antagonism and should allow peace to prevail across the line of control. The Kashmiris on both sides want to live a peaceful life without any fear of death and destruction which can only be achieved through peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute.
Authors are MSC International Relations final year students at the Department of IR, Women University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Bagh Pakistan