The Indian and Pakistani prime ministers are engaged in the war-of-words over the Kashmir issue, with the latter expressing a desire in his official statement to see Kashmir free of Indian occupation during his life time.
On Tuesday an influential Pakistani daily, the Dawn, had reported that, while addressing the budget session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif talked about a possible fourth war between the two nuclear-powered neighbors on the disputed Kashmir issue. Pakistan refers to the Jammu and Kashmir region under its occupation as “Azad” (Free) Kashmir.
“Kashmir is a flashpoint and can trigger a fourth war between the two nuclear powers at any time,” Sharif said in the Dawn’s report.
However, the news daily’s report has since been denied. Sharif’s office said that these are not his words and that the report is “incorrect and based on malafide intentions”.
According to the Press trust of India, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly rebuked Sharif’s statements on Wednesday saying, “There is no scope of Pakistan winning any such war in my lifetime.”
India and Pakistan fought their first war over Kashmir (1947-48) soon after the partition of the sub-continent and freedom from the British Colonial rule. Pakistan was carved out of Indian sub-continent as a demand for a separate nation for Muslims. During Partition, Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state, and its then ruler wanted it to be an independent country. However, an invasion from Pakistan saw the ruler seeking help from India which asked for accession in return.
The recent rise in the incidences of crossfire violations on the de-facto border from both sides has already badly hindered the peace process; the violations are reported by Indian media to be the worst in the last decade.
The current war of words has hit the gradually developing peace process between the two nations, as the cautious-yet-annoyed neighbors have been trying to build good relations after Sharif came into power recently.