LoC Silent After India-Pak Ceasefire, But Cynical Locals "Have No Faith"

All along the Line of Control (LoC) the guns have fallen silent and there is no indication that a ceasefire agreed on Thursday has been violated

India and Pakistan


All along the Line of Control (LoC) the guns have fallen silent and there is no report that the ceasefire agreed on Thursday has been violated.

The India-Pakistan ceasefire has been welcomed by many on both sides of the border and the international community, but it holds no promise for the Dar family living near the LoC.

For them wounds caused by gunfire and mortar shells are still fresh, and the fog of fear looms large over the Balkote village.

On November 13, Bashir Ahmad Dar's home was hit by mortar shells during a ceasefire violation in Uri sector. His wife, Farooqa Begum, 38, was killed and left behind five children, including 15-month-old Aliza.

"We walked up to the attic to get some firewood. Suddenly a shell hit our home and exploded. She died on the spot," Mr Dar said.

After living under constant shelling for years, there is a sense of disbelief over this new ceasefire, and the possibility that it could mean a more permanent end to hostilities

"India and Pakistan may have announced ceasefire but we have no faith that they will stop firing... mark my word... firing along the LoC will continue," he said.

Mr Dar says they pray for peace every day... peace so his children can live without fear of losing home, life or limbs.

Last year the region witnessed over 5,000 ceasefire violations - the highest since 2003 - and it is the poor people - on both sides of the LoC - who routinely suffer.


India and Pakistan have agreed to strictly observe a ceasefire along the LoC (File)

In the Dar household, after Farooqa Begum died her daughter - 16-year-old Shaesta - has taken on the role of mother for her four siblings. She has forgotten, literally, it seems, to smile, even on the day her Class 10 results are declared.

"I am taking care my siblings and continuing my studies as well. I wash utensils, clothes, cook food for the family," the young girl said.

The ceasefire agreement - taken at a meeting last week between the Director-Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries - has been welcomed by political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, who have also called for movement towards resolution of all pending issues.

In 2003, the ceasefire declaration ensured a temporary peace along the borders and enabled India to construct fences along the LoC to check infiltration.

Since 2013 though, there has been a relentless increase in violations. The last few years, in particular, have witnessed increasing use of artillery by both armies.

The fallout has been terrible for families like the Dars who bear the brunt of such hostilities.

Earlier this month Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy told parliament 70 civilians and 72 security personnel had died in over 10,000 ceasefire violations over the past three years.

A further 341 civilians and 364 security personnel were injured.

With input from PTI