Kashmiris worried over Karachi terror attack

May 23rd, 2011 - 3:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, May 23 (IANS) The Karachi naval base terror attack has caused concern in Jammu and Kashmir, with many residents monitoring television closely Monday and saying any instability in Pakistan could have a serious fallout here.

As news of the Karachi attack spread in summer capital Srinagar, cell phones started ringing. Locals asked friends and relatives what had actually happened there.

“I was in college when somebody told me the Karachi naval base had been attacked by terrorists. It is a matter of concern for all Kashmiris because developments in Pakistan have always had a serious fallout here,” said Riyaz Ahmad, a college teacher here.

Even journalists rushed to their offices for updates on the massive attack which began Sunday night. Fierce gunfights raged after heavily-armed terrorists stormed PNS Mehran, Pakistan’s first naval air station, destroyed two surveillance aircraft and left five personnel dead. The guerrillas also reportedly took an unknown number of hostages.

“First news came about the attack on the naval base in Karachi. This was followed by another report that the terrorists had taken many people hostage inside a building at the base. It is a matter of worry for every peace-loving Kashmiri,” said Imran, a young TV news reporter here.

“Whenever earth-shaking developments have taken place in Pakistan, we have a direct bearing of that in Kashmir.”

For instance, when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Pakistan in 1979, protests in Srinagar claimed five Kashmiri lives. Protests also erupted in Kashmir when Gen Zia-ul-Haq, the man responsible for Bhutto’s hanging, died in a plane crash in 1988.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also expressed worry in a tweet.

“How soon before someone in Pakistan blames India for #Karachi & draws parallels to #26/11. What’s happening in Pakistan is bad for India”.

Even Kashmiris with little access to technology talked of the Karachi attack.

“After Osama’s killing, it was always feared that Pakistan would have to face reprisal attacks from his supporters,” said Mehraj-ud-Din, 42, a fruit seller, referring to the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces.

“It is not good news at all. If the security of Pakistan is endangered, the situation in the neighbourhood would be adversely affected,” said the seller who hawks fruits at the fashionable Residency Road area of Srinagar.

Youths with an informed outlook and who carry no baggage of the past also expressed concern.

“Times have slowly but steadily changed. Wisdom and better sense have started prevailing on the leaders in India and Pakistan. But instability in Pakistan can usher in another army dictatorship and dictators always thrive on tensions and wars.”

Irfan Ahmad, 27, a university student here, said: “Karachi attacks are a huge blow to the political stability of Pakistan.”

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