India violated Line of Control ceasefire 103 times, Senate told

Report on Pakistan’s defence preparedness presented in upper house

Sardar Sikander November 18, 2016
Report on Pakistan’s defence preparedness presented in upper house. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: India had violated the ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) 103 times during the past one year and 58 times after the Uri incident on September 18, reads a key Senate document.

Presented in the upper house on Friday, the third report on ‘Border situation with India and Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s defence preparedness’ says 40% to 60% of the Indian armed forces deployed in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) were currently out of their cantonments whereas one additional division has been moved into the Kashmir valley.

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The report was jointly presented by Senate Standing Committee on Defence Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairperson Nuzhat Sadiq.

The report cites relevant facts and figures shared with the two Senate panels in related briefings given by Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Zamir Ul Hassan Shah and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

It says against the backdrop of the existing situation, the armed forces have ensured their operational preparedness.

“(Apart from the army), Pakistan Air Force is also very active and is conducting exercises Hallmark. Our airbases are alert. Pakistan Navy is also active and alert at the sea.

“Pakistan does not initiate any border violations, but all border violations are responded to adequately… So far, the activity from India is confined to ceasefire violations only, of which a befitting response is given by the Pakistani side.”

The document cites that India has deployed Russian-made Sukhoi aircraft in IOK, which can possibly have three consequences: i) application of an indirect strategy by India to target soft and high-value targets, ii) the ground strategy whereby ground and air activity by Indian forces is a possibility, and iii) combination of both these strategies.

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“Pakistan is aware of this situation,” the report says.

Rejecting India’s claim of a supposed ‘surgical strike’ into Azad Kashmir along the LoC, the document says the same required physical crossing of the LoC with a physical attack on a predetermined target.

“None of these actions took place so there can be no question of a surgical strike.” On the situation along the Pak-Afghan border, the report reveals that after Operation Khyber-III launched in mid-August, 86 cross-border violations from the Afghan territory have taken place. Two serious incidents of cross-border firing over the past week were reported.

“The presence of a number of insurgent groups in the area on the Afghan side makes it difficult to ascertain whether the firing/shelling has been done by security forces or insurgents… Pakistan is following an effective border management policy by maintaining close coordination with the Afghan government through regular consultations.”

According to a related finding of the Directorate General of Military Operations which was shared with the Senate’s defence and foreign affairs panels, Pakistan has a highly porous 2611km long border with Afghanistan that poses a major challenge in checking the flow of terrorists, miscreants, drug traffickers and smugglers.

“As a result of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, terrorists and miscreants have either been obliterated or have left the area. Effective border management measures were instituted at the Torkham border crossing from June 1 as a model project by introducing travel documentation regime.”

The report notes that the key to resolution of all outstanding disputes between Afghanistan and Pakistan lies in the reconciliation process “which unfortunately has stalled after the Mullah Mansoor incident.”

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Meanwhile, the upper house paid homage to two deceased senators. The Senate adopted two separate resolutions to express sorrow over the demise of former leader of the house Jahangir Badr of the PPP and ANP’s Haji Muhammad Adeel.

The Senate session continued for two hours, out of which, senators spent some one-and-a-half hour paying homage to Badr for his services to democracy and the PPP. Not only that, the upper house would pay homage to Haji Adeel on Monday.

Moreover, the reports on the Corporate Rehabilitation Bill and the Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill were presented in the Senate. The session was adjourned till Monday.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2016.



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