Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pakistan's reaction to Kashmir crisis

WSJ has background on street protests in the Indian state of Kashmir that have left 40 people dead. The crisis threatens the detente between Pakistan and India:

The troubles were sparked in late May when the state government in Kashmir promised to give 98 acres of land to the trust that runs a Hindu holy pilgrimage site. After protests from Muslims, the government revoked the decision.

That raised the ire of Hindus and led to demonstrations and blockades of the main road south from the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, prompting riots in the Kashmir Valley and reviving fears of religious conflict. About 10,000 extra troops were sent to the region and curfews were imposed. In one town, security forces were ordered to shoot on sight any curfew violators.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called on the United Nations to intervene. And Pakistan's Parliament late Wednesday approved a resolution criticizing the "excessive and brutal" use of force.

Meanwhile, Musharraf is desperately trying to head off impeachment proceedings.

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