ISLAMABAD, Aug 21: Pakistan on Wednesday asked India to stop further ceasefire violations.

The terse message was delivered to Indian deputy high commissioner Gopal Bagley after he was summoned to the Foreign Office to receive a demarche over the latest ceasefire violation in the Shaqma sector, near Skardu, in which a Pakistan Army officer was killed and a soldier critically wounded.

India should “take serious and credible measures to prevent further ceasefire violations and reduce tensions”, Mr Bagley was told.

The Pakistan Army described the Indian shelling, which started around Tuesday midnight and continued for a couple of hours, as “unprovoked”.

There have been a series of violations of the 2003 LoC ceasefire accord since Aug 6 ambush on an Indian military patrol in which five of its soldiers were killed.

The death of the army officer, identified as Captain Sarfraz, is the first military casualty on the Pakistani side in the latest phase of skirmishes on the LoC. Earlier two civilians were killed by the Indian shelling in populated areas close to the LoC.

“Pakistan conveyed its serious concern on the continued violations of the ceasefire across the LoC by the Indian army over the past few weeks and the escalation of tensions which is counter-productive and detrimental for stability and peace in the region,” FO spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said after the Indian diplomat met the head of South Asia desk at the Foreign Office.

The Indian diplomat was told that despite escalation of tensions Pakistan remained fully committed to “a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement”.

India has delayed the resumption of peace dialogue at the secretaries’ level following the event on the LoC and an expected meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session next month appears to be in limbo. Although Indian diplomats have been telling the Americans, who have been trying to defuse tensions, that they were ready for the meeting, their leadership has publicly taken a tougher line.



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