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S Asia Amritsar Back In Focus As India And Pakistan Exchange Fire


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Punjab's Amritsar district back in focus as India and Pakistan exchange fire
Saturday, January 09, 2010 [ Reads:548 / Comments:0 / 3651 ]
<!-- Punjab's Amritsar district back in focus as India and Pakistan exchange fire
Saturday, January 09, 2010 [ Reads: 548 / Comments:0 ]
--> Some of the most bitter fighting between India and Pakistan, during the partition of India into two countries in 1947, came in the state of Punjab and nowhere more so than in the Amritsar district.

During the partition the Muslim league had wanted Amritsar as part of Pakistan because of its proximity to Lahore and the fact it has a nearly 50% Muslim population. The city became part of India.

The Indian National Congress had similar aims of incorporating Lahore into India as it was the cultural, economic, and political capital of undivided Punjab and Hindus and Sikhs constituted nearly 50% of the population. Lahore became a part of Pakistan.

Negotiation at its finest everyone goes home equally unhappy.

As a result Amritsar and Lahore experienced some of the worst communal riots during the partition of India. Muslim residents of Amritsar left the city en-masse leaving their homes and property behind due to violent anti-Muslim riots in the city. Similar scenes of communal carnage against Hindus and Sikhs were witnessed in Lahore and led to their mass evacuation.

Cut to present day India-Pakistan.

Overnight suspected terrorists fired seven rockets into Punjab's Amritsar district but there were no casualties according to news reports released on Saturday.

The rockets were found on farmland in the Attari sector along India's border with Pakistan. Five were acquired near a village and two very close to a border post.

In response Indian forces along that border fired machine guns into Pakistan.

Indian officials thereafter met with their Pakistani counterparts in order to lodge a strong complaint.

Pakistan denies any knowledge of the attack.

India believes that the attackers may well be linked to the Taliban and/or al-Qaeda being the third incident in the area since July 2009. In addition these terrorists attacked a police training centre, located between Lahore city and the Wagah border post, about 12 kilometres west of Attari, in March 2009,killing 20 police personnel and injuring 150 others.

While India has erected an electrified barbed-wire fence on its side of the 553-kilometre international border with Pakistan there are no doubt grave concerns that terrorists are operating so close to their border.

While many within the Pakistani military and intelligence view India as the number one threat the government has been focusing on the Taliban. It would accordingly most certainly be in the interests of the Taliban to draw fire from India into Pakistan thereby splitting the focus of the Pakistani armed forces.

This could well become one of the world’s hotspots in 2010.
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