India threatening to impose limited war: Pakistan

Islamabad contacts Washington, other big powers, Indian diplomat summoned over LoC violation

ISLAMABAD - India is threatening to impose a limited war on Pakistan as it continues to violate the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary (WB), Islamabad has told important world capitals.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Islamabad had contacted Washington, Beijing, Moscow, and London amid the unprovoked Indian firing, targeting the civilians along the LoC and the WB.

“We have urged them to ask India to give up defiance. India is threatening a limited war which could be dangerous for the regional peace. We have asked the important countries to stop India or the things could get out of hands,” said an official at the ministry who has been engaged in the talks.

Another official said that Beijing had assured support to Pakistan at the regional and international level.

On Sunday, the foreign ministry summoned a senior Indian diplomat to protest against the LoC firing. “The Acting Director General South Asia summoned the acting Indian Deputy High Commissioner, and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces in Kotli/Nikial sub-sector on 22 September 2017, resulting in the death of 22 years old girl, Tashiba, a resident of village Balakot, and injuries to 2 others, including a female,” said a foreign ministry statement. 

Despite calls for restraint, it said, “India continues to indulge in ceasefire violations. In 2017 to date, Indian forces have carried out 873 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the WB, resulting in the death of 39 innocent civilians and injuries to 144, as compared to 382 ceasefire violations in 2016.”

It added: “The deliberate targeting of civilians is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws.”

The Acting Director-General urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement; investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations; instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC.

He urged that the Indian side should permit UN observers to play the mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that ceasefire violations by India across the LoC at Kotli sector resulted in the killing of a 22-year-old girl, identified as Tashiba, and injuries to two other civilians.

He said ‘such acts of belligerence’ while the United Nations General Assembly session was underway “contradicts India’s own statements and violates UN Charter and relevant humanitarian laws.”

 “We condemn in strongest terms India’s deliberate targeting of innocent civilians. Our heart goes out to families of bereaved and those injured,” Zakaria said, adding such acts by India posed a grave threat to regional peace and security.

There were reports that Pakistan was lobbying in the United Nations to get India declared a terrorist state. Pakistan, the reports said, planned to move a resolution in the UN Security Council after approval from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Islamabad was in contact with the permanent members of the UN Security Council to get the resolution passed, officials said.

Over the weekend, Pakistani permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi rejected India’s sweeping allegations about Pakistan’s involvement in terrorist acts and accused India of sponsoring terror.

Responding to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, she said:  “India has considerable experience in the state sponsorship of terrorism in our region.” Sushma Swaraj had earlier speech called Pakistan “the pre-eminent export factory for terror.”

Former ambassador Fauzia Nasreen said that India had never responded positively to Pakistan’s efforts for peace talks. She said continuous violation by India along the LoC and the WB proved that India was not sincere in talks and rather wanted to threaten the regional peace.

International affairs expert Dr Rasheed Ahmed Khan said that the Indian firing along the LoC was a source of concern for all the peace lovers across the world. “India is responsible for all this mess. The world must take notice of the situation and stop India,” he added.

Khan said that India blamed Pakistan for supporting terrorism but was itself involved in state-sponsored terrorism in the region. “To add to this, they are threatening a war through the continuous firing along the LoC,” he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif met his counterparts from Azerbaijan and Saint Kitts and Nevis on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, a foreign ministry statement said on Sunday.

The two leaders, it said, also discussed important regional and multilateral matters of mutual interest and expressed their desire for deepening cooperation in various fields of bilateral relations, including at the United Nations and other multilateral fora.

Asif reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to the people of Saint Kitts and Nevis and the larger region and offered to assist in the global efforts for helping and rehabilitating the hurricane victims.

Separately, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International also called on the foreign minister in New York to seek Pakistan’s support in addressing the grave situation of Rohingyas in Myanmar and Rohingya refugees in neighboring countries.

Asif apprised Shetty of Pakistan’s ongoing efforts, including the provision of humanitarian assistance and constructive engagement with regional partners to address the plight of the Rohingya people.

“The foreign minister emphasized on the need to eliminate the root causes of the situation and moving beyond addressing the symptoms alone,” said the foreign ministry statement.

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