Pakistan has expressed its willingness for early restoration of ‘peace and tranquility’ along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary with India, as the two countries on Sunday again traded fire after a two-day hiatus.
As part of diplomatic efforts to defuse the situation, Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz spoke to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry.
Aziz briefed the UN chief on the “frequency and intensity of unprovoked and indiscriminate” firing along the LoC and Working Boundary by Indian armed forces over the past few weeks. He underlined the need for early restoration of a ceasefire in the disputed territory.
Over a dozen Pakistani civilians have been killed, while many other injured since the clashes erupted between the two nuclear armed-neighbours on October 2. Both countries accuse each other for triggering the latest hostilities.
Aziz said Pakistan was fully united and determined to thwart any aggression, and had responded to India’s provocations with utmost restraint and responsibility. “India should be advised to adopt a mature and reasonable approach, and refrain its armed forces from acting irrationally,” he was quoted as saying in the foreign ministry statement.
The prime minister’s adviser said there must also be a way forward for resolving outstanding disputes, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, in the interest of durable peace in the region.
He said peaceful settlement of disputes was a cardinal principle of the UN Charter to which Pakistan was deeply committed. “However, progress required cooperation of both sides. Rejecting bilateral dialogue and denying international engagement and legitimacy were unhelpful and counter-productive,” he emphasised. Aziz also underlined the important role of the United Nations to help address the situation and prevent further escalation.
Appreciating the work of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), Aziz noted that its role should be further strengthened to facilitate more effective monitoring and reporting of ceasefire violations.
The UN’s engagement would add to its credibility in managing crisis situations, he added. “The UN should not be inhibited by non-cooperation of one side.”
In his remarks, the UN chief expressed his concern over the escalation of violence along the LoC and deplored the loss of lives. He emphasised the importance of both sides taking necessary steps to de-escalate the situation and resolve all outstanding issues through negotiations, the statement said.
While Aziz raised the issue with the UN chief, Indian forces again resorted to ‘unprovoked firing’ in Pukhlian sector on the Working Boundary near Sialkot.
Pakistan forces effectively responded to the Indian firing, says a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). According to Rangers’ officials, a civilian, Muhammad Khan, resident of Janglora village in Bajwat sector, received minor injury due to firing by India’s Border Security Force.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2014.