India-Pakistan border fights disrupt village life
Clashes between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India are always unnerving, but for Tanveer Ahmed, the latest border flare-up is personal: It`s harming his marriage prospects.
Dhamala (Pakistan): Clashes between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India are always unnerving, but for Tanveer Ahmed, the latest border flare-up is personal: It`s harming his marriage prospects.
The 20-year-old Pakistani`s village, Dhamala, is just a few hundred meters (yards) from the barbed wire and watchtowers. He says he has approached three families in other towns with marriage proposals and all demurred.
"They said `We can`t take this risk. You could be killed at any time,`" said Ahmed. "I think I will have to move away from this village."
The gunfire and mortar shelling along the border of Kashmir that erupted in August and peaked again in late October is the worst in a decade, killing eight Indian army soldiers and a border guard, and five military personnel and six civilians on the Pakistan side.
The Indians say they are trying to deter Pakistani militants crossing into Kashmir, where India has been fighting a decades-long insurgency.
Pakistan says its soldiers are under strict orders to fire only if fired upon and accuse the Indians of firing into civilian areas.
Kashmir is a perennial flashpoint. Two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought have been over this part-Himalayan region.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan. Pakistan denies giving any backing beyond moral and diplomatic support.
The recently elected Pakistani government says it wants to improve ties with India, and analysts say Pakistan`s military has little interest in rocking the boat right now.
India says militants are trying to infiltrate into the territory, and as the war in Afghanistan winds down, some worry that the militants who fought there are starting to shift to Kashmir.