LoC incident unsettling, says Pakistani daily

In Lahore, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf urged political boundaries be struck down.

Islamabad: At a time when a South Asia "peace caravan" hoped to open "minds and borders", it was unfortunate and "extremely unsettling" that the Line of Control (LoC) incident has sparked calls for retaliation from both countries, a Pakistani daily said on Thursday.

A regional conference of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) was recently held in both Amritsar and Lahore, the Daily Times reported.

"Their `peace caravan`, comprising over 200 delegates, crossed the border into Lahore in the hopes of `opening minds and borders`," the daily said in an editorial.

In Lahore, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf urged political boundaries be struck down so that economic gains are made feasible via trade liberalisation.

The daily said it "seems" that Pakistani "political representatives have abandoned any notion of demonising India and realised the importance of working together on a South Asian level".

"Unfortunately, while the SAFMA conference was underlining more cooperation, the clash the other day on the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir has sparked angry accusations and counter-accusations amid calls for retaliation from both India and Pakistan," the Dawn said.

"This is extremely unsettling."

The daily said such clashes "do happen from time to time" on the LoC, and was "not an unnatural occurrence when the forces of the two sides are deployed eyeball to eyeball across the divide".

"However, the timing of this latest incident has aroused suspicions that there are elements on one side or the other or both, interested in sabotaging the ongoing moves for peace and normalisation through trade and economic cooperation, a liberalised visa regime, and sundry other confidence building measures," the daily said.

"Where India and Pakistan are concerned, given their fraught history, it does not take much to jeopardise the peace process."

The daily stressed that it was extremely important that both sides practise restraint when approaching the issue and keep the spirit of the dialogue process alive.