Tensions worsened between Indian security forces and protesters around by-elections in Srinagar 9 April, with nine killed in clashes during month. Protesters 9 April stormed polling stations and threw stones at security forces in Budgam district; eight civilians dead and over 200 injured after security forces opened fire on protesters, prompting calls for further protests. Voter turnout reportedly 7%, lowest in 27 years, 70 polling stations forced to shut down. Polling repeated in 38 polling stations 13 April; reported 2% turnout lowest in Jammu and Kashmir’s history. Authorities postponed polling in Anantnag, scheduled 12 April, to 25 May due to security concerns. Security forces 15 April killed seventeen-year old boy as youths threw stones at convoy in Batamaloo, Srinagar; clashed with students in Pulwama town same day, injuring at least 50. Indian soldiers 13 April reportedly tied civilian to a military vehicle as they patrolled in Budgam district before releasing him; police filed criminal complaint against army; army chief vowed action against perpetrators, but said “relentless operations” against Kashmiri separatists and protesters would continue. Clashes across Line of Control (LoC) continued. In Kupwara district, security forces 10 April killed four suspected militants during gunfight after they attempted to cross LoC into Keran sector from Pakistan-administered Kashmir; killed two Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) militants in anti-militancy operation in Hayatapora village, Budgam district. At least three Indian soldiers and two militants killed as suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad militants attacked military camp near LoC in Panzgam village, Kupwara district, 27 April. Pakistani military 10 April sentenced Indian naval officer arrested March 2016 to death on charges of espionage and sabotage. India filed formal protest to Pakistani high commissioner claiming defendant not a spy, declaring execution would be considered “premeditated murder”.
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.