Clashes across Line of Control (LoC) and militant attacks continued, as did separatist demonstrations, prompted by perceived attempt to change demography of region. Indian troops 18 Aug reportedly killed Pakistani villager in firing across Line of Control (LoC); Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned Indian diplomat to lodge protest in what it called “unprovoked firing”. Indian army 7 Aug claimed four Indian soldiers and two militants killed in gunfight during infiltration attempt by militants across LoC. Militants 22 Aug reportedly killed three policemen and one politician in three separate attacks in Pulwama (west) and Kulgam (south) districts. Separatists 5-6 Aug held strikes and demonstrations throughout Kashmir to protest legal challenge in Supreme Court to Article 35-A of constitution, which provides special rights and privileges to Jammu and Kashmir’s permanent residents and bars non-residents from acquiring immovable property in state; separatists claim challenge is attempt to change disputed region’s demography and convert its majority Muslim population into a minority; held further strikes 27 Aug in which they clashed with security forces in capital Srinagar and Anantang district (south), and again 30-31 Aug ahead of court hearing on Article 35-A. Militants 30-31 Aug reportedly kidnapped at least twelve relatives of police in south Kashmir, allegedly in response to arrest of son of Hizbul Mujahideen chief. Protesters and security forces clashed in Srinagar 21 Aug during demonstrations against Indian rule. New Pakistani PM Khan 21 Aug tweeted Pakistan and India must have dialogue and “resolve their conflicts including Kashmir”.
Their recent dialogue process provides the best chance yet for bilateral peace and regional stability, but Pakistan and India must still overcome serious mistrust among hardliners in their security elites.
Even if India and Pakistan appear willing to allow more interaction across the Line of Control (LOC) that separates the parts of Kashmir they administer, any Kashmir-based dialogue will fail if they do not put its inhabitants first.
When the third round of the normalisation talks concludes in July 2006, India and Pakistan will be no closer than when they began the process in February 2004 to resolving differences, including over Kashmir.
The agreement between Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, and India's new prime minister, Manmohan Singh, to continue talks on all contentious issues including Kashmir has inspired optimism about reduced tensions in South Asia.
For half a century Kashmir has been the major issue of contention between India and Pakistan.
More than five decades after independence, Pakistan is no closer to a resolution with India of the dispute over Kashmir.