Indian ceasefire violations

The Foreign Office Thursday said that the unprovoked Indian ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary have resulted in martyrdom of 44 civilians and caused injuries to 135 others during the last two months and urged global community to play its role in defusing the tension. 

In his weekly media briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan has condemned in the strongest possible terms the targeting of innocent civilians in a passenger bus on Wednesday last by the Indian troops.

He said that Indian forces have been committing ceasefire violations during previous years and each time it would be to serve some agenda.

In 2014, he said the Indian forces violated ceasefire for over 400 times at a time when they had state assemblies’ elections. This year, he said, they have violated the ceasefire for more than 300 times.

He stated that Pakistan has only responded to the Indian aggression forcefully, proportionately and in a befitting manner. “It remains the endeavour of the Pakistan Army not to target civilians,” he added.

He further said that Pakistan has forcefully raised its voice against these acts of Indian aggression to sensitise the international community about Indian designs in the region and that India’s irresponsible attitude could be detrimental to regional peace.

About the Wednesday’s contact between DGMOs of Pakistan and India, he said that Pakistani side conveyed that targeting of civilians is not acceptable under any circumstances, and must be stopped forthwith. He said that the mechanism of contact at the DGMOs level is in place and has been used in the past too when situations arose between the two countries that warranted an immediate contact between them.

He further said that Pakistan will continue to raise the Indian atrocities in IoK and the hostilities on the LoC with international community until India stops Kashmiris’ bloodshed and peacefully resolves the Kashmir dispute.

He pointed out that for more than four months now, the human rights situation in the IoK has only been worsening and more than 150 people have been killed and over 1,000 were blinded, partially or completely, and over 16,000 have been injured, scores of among them are in critical condition and maimed for the rest of their lives.

“These atrocious acts of human rights violations by Indian occupation forces in IoK are matter of deep concern for us. We will continue to provide political, moral and diplomatic support to the just cause of Kashmiri people until their right to self-determination is realised in accordance with the UNSC resolutions,” he added.

He said that there is a rising concern among the international community over the plight of Kashmiris in IoK and parliamentarians in various countries have joined the civil society members in their respective regions to add their voice along with the Kashmiri and Pakistani Diaspora there.

About Pakistan’s response to the visiting British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s call for dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve all the outstanding issues, he said that Pakistan’s response has been consistent since the beginning and it believes that all issues in the region should be resolved peacefully, through dialogue. Unfortunately, India has not been ready for meaningful and sustained dialogue, he said, adding Pakistan believes in resolving all conflicts through peaceful means.

In the meeting between Sartaj Aziz and Boris Johnson, he said that the Pakistani side briefed him on India’s aggressive designs. “There was a clear understanding as to where things were leading to, and what role international community and UK could play in this regard,” he added.

To another query, he said that the British Foreign Secretary during his talks said that the relationship between the two countries is “rock solid” and based on the historic linkages between the two countries, which is further reinforced by the presence of over a million strong Pakistani Diaspora in UK with deep family linkages in Pakistan. “He [Johnson] even mentioned in passing that even he had family roots in Pakistan,” he added.

He said that both the countries have a Strategic Dialogue, which has various segments including culture, education, defence, security, trade and investment. During our talks, he said that a number of areas of mutual interest under these segments were discussed.

Both sides have identified areas of common interest, particularly those of interest to the businessmen and investors, he said, adding both sides also discussed the steps to be taken to fully exploit the potential for boosting economic ties between the two countries.

During Aziz-Johnson meeting, he said a whole range of issues were discussed, adding many countries including the UK have shown their interest in the CPEC and the visiting dignitary was also briefed about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said that CPEC is an economic development project, which will benefit not just Pakistan and China but the entire region. “It is a project about regional connectivity and prosperity. He [Johnson] expressed the UK’s keen interest,” he added.

Regarding CPEC’s security challenges, he said that India has openly stated that it opposes the CPEC and subsequently, Pakistan has learnt in the public confession of Kulbhushan Yadav that CPEC is one of the prime targets of sabotage and subversive activities by Indian RAW in Pakistan.

He said that the charge-sheet of eight personnel of Indian High Commission in Islamabad, who were also involved in the activities detrimental to Pakistan’s security, also reflected designs, inter alia, against the CPEC. “It needs to be understood that CPEC is about the economic development of the region and it is going to benefit everyone,” he asserted.

To a question about Pakistan’s possible participation in the upcoming Heart of Asia Conference in India next month, he referred to the statement of Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz who recently stated that he would lead Pakistan’s delegation to the conference.

“I am not in a position to respond in the context. I believe that the situation with India was still worse when the Adviser announced decision to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference,” he said.

He said that Pakistan remains committed to extending full support and will play a constructive role in all initiatives aimed at bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. “It is in this context and commitment that he [Sartaj Aziz] announced Pakistan’s participation,” he added.

-Business Recorder