Pak-India tension intensifies on Kashmir Solidarity Day

Foreign Office summons Indian diplomat over ceasefire violations

ISLAMABAD - Tension between Pakistan and India intensified as Pakistan observed “Kashmir Solidarity Day” on Monday, pushing India to implement the United Nations resolutions on the decades-old dispute between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Pakistan and India exchanged fire after the latter violated the ceasefire agreement over the weekend. Pakistan said it retaliated after Indian forces killed two civilians and wounded several others.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh and lodged formal protest over the ceasefire violations, resulting in the killing of two civilians and injuring seven others.

On Monday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reiterated full support to the “just and legitimate right of the Kashmiri people” for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.  He said the “illegitimate use of force by the Indian forces in Kashmir” had “miserably failed to suppress indigenous freedom struggle.”

The premier said Kashmir issue would remain alive till its peaceful resolution as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and the UN resolutions.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Kashmir was the main source of enmity between Pakistan and India. He said the world was recognising the Kashmiris’ just struggle but India was hell-bent upon ignoring the global hue and cry. “Around 800,000 Indian army has failed to control the freedom movement in Kashmir. In order to shift world attention from Kashmir, India is sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan,” Asif said.

The foreign ministry said Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh was summoned to protest against the unprovoked firing along the LoC. The foreign ministry statement said Indian troops resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violations along the Line of Control in disputed Kashmir region in Nezapir, Nikial and Karela sectors, resulting in the killing of two innocent civilians, while injuring seven others, including two children.

Director-General South Asia Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner and condemned the cross-LoC shelling. “The Indian forces along the Line of Control and the Working boundary are continuously targeting the civilian-populated areas with heavy mortars and automatic weapons,” the foreign ministry said.

It said in 2018, the Indian forces have carried out more than 190 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the Working Boundary to date, resulting in the death of 13 civilians, while injuring 65 others.

The ministry said the unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India was continuing from the year 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1,970 ceasefire violations. “The deliberate targeting of civilian-populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws,” the statement said, adding the ceasefire violations by India were a threat to regional peace and security and might lead to a strategic miscalculation.

Faisal urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement, investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations and instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire so as to maintain peace and tranquillity on the LoC and the Working Boundary.

He said the Indian side should permit the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions. Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Pakistan had also contacted India apart from summoning JP Singh, asking New Delhi to stop escalating tension, which could threaten peace in the region.

Citing telephonic talks with New Delhi, an official said: “If India continues to fire [along the LoC and WB], we have to retaliate. We cannot sit silent if they kill civilians.”

He added: “India is trying to put the blame on us. They are trying to divert world’s attention from Kashmir through the ceasefire violations.”

Another official said Pakistan had been highlighting the Indian aggression on the LoC and the WB in the United Nations. “This [the ceasefire violation] is a threat to peace as the ties are already tense. UN must intervene to stop India [from worsening the situation],” he maintained.

In 2003, Pakistan and India had declared ceasefire along the LoC but in the recent months, India violated the peace deal numerous times. Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter, Burhan Wani, in July 2016.

An attack on Indian forces in September 2016 - that killed 19 soldiers in Uri area of held Kashmir - further heightened the tensions. India also claimed it had carried a “surgical strike” to avenge the Uri attack. Pakistan rejected the Indian claim.


ePaper - Nawaiwaqt