The latest incident of violence in Pulwama area of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) has highlighted yet again how Indian state’s senseless obsession with controlling the region is serving no one’s interests. Kashmiris have borne the heaviest of the brunt because of the seven-decade-old conflict, but perpetual cycles of violence in the Valley have also left Pakistan and India poorer. The two countries have incurred a heavy human cost due to the conflict. Countless families on both sides have been left aggrieved after having lost their young men, whether fighting in state security forces or in militias. The 42 officers of Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force and the teenager who drove the explosive laden vehicle into the convoy are merely the latest victims of the madness that continues in the Valley. The Pulwama attack must serve as a moment for reflection. On the Indian side, it should be acknowledged that there is widespread unrest among the Muslim population of the state, and that it has to do with the fact that a new generation of Kashmiris that has come of age amidst violence perpetrated by Indian forces does not accept New Delhi as a legitimate authority. This generation is on the frontline of the ongoing wave of the Kashmiri liberation struggle. Therefore, instead of opting for a knee-jerk reaction and pinning the blame on Pakistan, Indian authorities would do well to confront the truth: it is the violence perpetrated by Indian troops that begets violence from Kashmiri youth. Meanwhile, the authorities in Pakistan need to handle the situation with utmost care, meaning that they must extend all out cooperation on investigations into the attack. The Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), militant group that has claimed the attack, is already a banned outfit in Pakistan. However, the whereabouts of its leader Masood Azhar remain unknown. Pakistan will only further its own interests, which lie in restoration of peace in the Valley, if it will proceed against Azhar and others suspected of association with the JeM. The fact remains that JeM and other militant outfits, most notably Jamaat-ud-Dawa, are the biggest hurdles in the way of a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute. The authorities in Islamabad should know that they cannot expect much progress towards a trilateral dialogue on the dispute until they proceed against individuals and groups with a history of militancy in the Valley, to the satisfaction of the international community. * Published in Daily Times, February 16th 2019.