NEW DELHI/ ISLAMABAD:
Pakistan’s military officials accused Indian forces of opening fire and seriously injuring a Pakistani civilian in the Tatta Pani sector along the Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday.
“At around 8:30am, Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing at the LoC, injuring a civilian, Kaka Sana Muhammad, who has now been shifted to a military hospital,” a security official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.
Earlier, Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of both the countries came into contact over hotline and discussed the situation along the LoC in Kashmir. Pakistan Army had lodged a strong protest for the LoC violation by Indian troops in different sectors alongside the border.
Pakistan’s DGMO conveyed these sentiments to his counterpart during a special hotline contact this morning.
Indian defence minister’s charge
Indian Defence Minister A K Antony has warned Pakistan not to take India’s patience for granted and asserted that it was Pakistani Army regulars who had killed five Indian soldiers on the Line of Control, according to a statement issued in the Indian parliament.
The statement came at a time when the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the defence minister of having a soft stance on the issue in order to keep the Pakistan-India dialogue alive.
On the other hand, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has refused to categorically comment on whether talks with Pakistan were still on track. “Not in a position to say anything today. This is not the time nor the appropriate atmosphere in which we should be discussing talks,” Khurshid said.
“Let’s wait for the appropriate time. All the inputs have to be brought in, then we can make a call,” he added.
Khurshid’s intervention came at a time when a campaign has been launched by the Indian media, demanding suspension of talks with Pakistan. BJP, the opposition party has been saying that for every act of violence against India, Pakistan must be made to pay a higher price.
“We want the house to know that we do not play politics. We have maintained that the statement made by the defence minister was wrong and we have demanded a correction,” said leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
“We want Pakistan to know that India will not tolerate repeated incidents like this. It cannot take our restraint for granted,” she added, after Antony corrected his previous statement that the attack on Indian soldiers took place on the Indian side of the LoC and that it was persons dressed as Pakistan Army who mounted the attack.
Some TV channels had suggested that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had diluted Antony’s statement to prevent the Manmohan Singh-Nawaz Sharif meeting in New York in September from being washed out.
The PMO said this was rubbish. “Such allegations being made are mischievous and have no basis,” a PMO spokesman said today.
Antony’s statement today – which should be read as the authoritative statement based on full information after the Chief of Army Staff had visited the site of the attack and had briefed the Defence Minister said, “It is now clear that the specialist troops of Pakistan Army were involved in this attack when a group from the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) side crossed the LoC and killed our brave jawans.
The debate now is what the ‘consequences’ of events on the LoC will be. Statements have already started coming from all over the world that the dialogue between India and Pakistan should not be halted. Today British Prime Minister David Cameron also made a statement to this effect. While India’s position has always been that no one but India and Pakistan must be involved in resolving outstanding issues between the two countries, the world has been wary of tension between India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers.
The immediate consequence of the tension was the cancellation of some music programmes featuring Pakistani singers and joint independence day celebrations on the Rajasthan border were called off. The Secretaries level dialogue on water and trade is unlikely.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2013.