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Temple attack, Kashmir Premier League: August remains a month of discontent in India-Pak ties

The border may be silent, but the sparring continues

india-pakistan-flag-reuters Representational image

It is the peak-month of friction between India and Pakistan. The border may be silent, but the sparring continues. And, living up to traditions of the Augusts of the past, the frostiness continues. The latest flashpoint being the attack on a temple in Pakistan. India summoned the Pakistani Charge d' Affair on Thursday and lodged a “firm’’ protest over the “violent mob attack’’.

“We have seen disturbing reports on social media of a violent mob attack on a Ganesha temple in Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab province of Pakistan,’’ said Arindam Bagchi, the ministry of external affairs spokesperson at the weekly press briefing.

Pictures of a mob attacking the temple, damaging the idols have gone viral on social media. “In addition to attacking the temple, the mob has also attacked surrounding houses belonging to the Hindu community,’’ said Bagchi. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken cognisance of the issue and directed senior officials in Punjab to appear before the court on Friday.

The strong statement on the attack on the shrine comes at a time resentment is brewing between the two countries. As usual, Kashmir looms large, this time as a cricket series. Pakistan is hosting Kashmir Premier League, a T20 six-team tournament, slated to be played in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has sparked outrage in India. But instead of the MEA, it is the BCCI that is leading from the front. The methods of the richest cricket board may be slightly questionable, with South African cricketer Herschelle Gibs claiming that the BCCI tried to prevent him from participating, but with Monty Panesar, former England cricketer, pulling out because of the politics, the end may justify the means.

For its part, the Pakistan cricket board has approached the ICC to sort out the matter. The friction between the two countries has intensified with the imminent US pull out in Afghanistan. As the Taliban continue to make gains, and the security situation spirals out of control, the tension has split into the Indo-Pakistan dynamic. Especially as Pakistan’s clout with the Taliban has not diminished. "There will be no permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan without sanctions against Pakistan. Pakistan’s ‘forever war’ must end,’’ tweeted Chris Alexander, a Canadian diplomat who served in Kabul.

 India, as chair of the United Nations Security Council, is trying to play a lead role in bringing international attention to the deteriorating condition in the country. On August 3, the Afghan foreign minister Mohammed Hanif Atmar dialled the Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar to discuss the possibility of an emergency session. The session will be held on Friday. “During tomorrow’s debate, we will share our vision and perspectives on Afghanistan, and we look forward to productive deliberations on this important issue,’’ said Bagchi.

Till the next bout.


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