Pakistan has vehemently protested against the latest round of unprovoked firing by Indian troops across the Line of Control (LoC) as tensions soared in the two countries after the August 6 killing of five Indian soldiers set off a wave of skirmishes between the two nations.
On Monday, the Foreign Office voiced concerns over “continuous ceasefire violations by India’s Border Security Force (BSF)” across the 740-kilometre LoC that divides the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir.
“The Foreign Office summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner this afternoon to raise this concern [over the latest firing] which has resulted in the loss of an innocent civilian life in Rawalakot,” the ministry said in a statement.
Pakistan reiterated its commitment to the ceasefire agreement of 2003, which it said should be respected in letter and spirit by both sides. It also urged the need for abiding by and strengthening existing military mechanisms to ensure that such violations did not occur in the future.
“Pakistan is committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India and believes that serious efforts need to be made in maintaining a positive atmosphere and avoid negative propaganda,” reads the statement.
The diplomatic protest came hours after a Pakistani military official said that “Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing in the wee hours of Monday in Battal, Chirikot and Satwal sectors along the LoC”.
“Pakistani troops effectively responded to the Indian firing. A civilian, Muhammad Zubair, son of Saen Khan Janjua, a resident of Dunga, embraced shahadat due to the unprovoked Indian shelling,” the official added.
It was the fourth truce violation by Indian troops within two days. On Sunday officials said Islamabad was considering several steps, including scaling down diplomatic staff in New Delhi and shifting troops from its western to eastern borders with India. The Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) is likely to take a decision next week.
“We are waiting for the DCC to take up the matter of truce violations,” a senior military official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.
In a related development, Pakistan demanded the Indian government ensure foolproof security at the offices of Pakistan International Airlines in Mumbai and New Delhi. The demand was made following threats from some terrorist groups.
The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi wrote a letter to the Indian government on Monday stating that security at the PIA offices needed to be tightened. India-based terrorists have sent pamphlets to Pakistan’s diplomatic missions and PIA offices, threatening attacks on PIA flights to Mumbai and New Delhi.
Memorandum handed over to UN mission
Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed led a 400-strong protest march to the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in Muzaffarabad to condemn the unprovoked Indian firing at the LoC.
“It is the responsibility of the UNMOGIP to keep peace in Kashmir,” Majeed told protesters. “They should fulfill their responsibility by playing a role to stop shelling from India and restore calm in the valley.”
The prime minister also handed over a memorandum to the UNMOGIP representatives, demanding the UN and international community take notice of India’s firing as well as atrocities of Indian forces against the innocent Kashmiri people in the Indian halve of the disputed Kashmir state.
The prime minister of AJK rejected the Indian allegations of cross-LoC ambush by Pakistan forces. He also called upon the UNMOGIP to investigate the latest flare-up along the LoC and bring facts before the international community.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2013.
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