Every day, the loss of a human life grows lesser in value. Pakistan-India hostility, which has already caused much loss to both countries, continues to add to the tragic loss of lives, of both soldiers and civilians alike, often at the hands of our more aggressive neighbour.

At least six people, including four women, were killed and 20 others injured near the Working Boundary in Sialkot on Thursday as Indian forces “resorted to unprovoked firing of mortars targeting civilians”. This firing is reported to be a “retaliatory” action by the Indian forces, in vengeance for an Indian soldier killed by Pakistani troops. It is a sad state of reality and reflects the devaluation of human life, where an army takes the lives of six innocent civilians as “retaliation”.

What is worrying about this is that killings on the Line of Control (LOC) and ceasefire violations is a consistent phenomena, yet all seem to accept the injustice and loss of lives as just another casualty. Just the day before, 4 were martyred and 20 people in cross-border firing and shelling in the Harpal, Sajeetgarh and Charwah sectors, whereby, earlier in January, a five-year-old girl was killed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir when an Indian soldier opened fire across the LoC. Yet, cross border killing become such a commonplace thing that it refuses to raise an outcry or reaction, usually being reduced to the last pages of an international newspaper.

Both countries are bound by the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement, yet treat it as a formality, with both countries violating it many times. Why cannot the government put an effective end to this continuous low key engagement? Bilateral contacts between admins and DGMOS are touted now and again but nothing seems to come of it. This regular loss of human life must stop, diplomatically or otherwise.