Asia: A Cease-Fire of Sorts

The cease-fire between India and Pakistan last week passed into its sixth tense week with not the slightest prospect for a settlement. Indeed, if words were any measure, the situation was worse. Rising before the U.N. Security Council, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Zulfikar AH Bhutto charged India with conducting a reign of terror in Kashmir, quoting a Kashmiri as having told the press: “Indian troops have cut off the breasts of our girls and held them up saying, ‘Here is your Pakistan!’” With that, India’s white-turbaned ForeignMinister Swaran Singh led his delegation out of the Security Council.*Hooted Pakistan’s Bhutto: “The Indian dogs have gone home, not fromKashmir, but from the Security Council.” From India, Prime Minister LaiBahadur Shastri shot back that Bhutto’s blunt remarks were “vulgar,dirty and uncivilized.”

There was more than verbal violence in Kashmir itself. Many—perhaps amajority—of the 3.5 million inhabitants of Indian-held Kashmir arestrongly inclined toward union with Pakistan and are letting theIndian-controlled government know it. The government has struck backsternly, suspending civil rights, closing schools and universities,centers of the protests, and jailing pro-Pakistan politicians. Units ofthe 30,000-man India-controlled police force have waded intodemonstrators and beaten scores to the ground with their lathis (long,steel-tipped staves). Fearing a full-scale revolt, government officialsprotect their homes with sandbags and helmeted troops; soldiers guardall important bridges and public buildings.

Last week’s furor kept Kashmir in the headlines, which is just where thePakistanis want it. Their worst fear is that the crisis will fadebefore the U.N. does something about it. Meanwhile, dug-in Pakistaniand Indian troops face each other along the 1,500-mile truce line fromRajasthan in the south to Kashmir in the north. India has chargedPakistan with 585 violations in 34 days. Pakistan has countered withaccusations of 450 incidents by India. In his first visit to the front,India’s Shastri last week exhorted his soldiers “to be alert andvigilant because we do not know how long the cease-fire will last.”

* Only the third walkout in the Security Council’s history.The others: Russia’s angry departure during the Azerbaijan debate in1946 and again in 1950 as a protest against Nationalist China servingas Council president.

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