ISLAMABAD: Officially discussing India's violations of the ceasefire agreement by engaging in cross-border firing, the adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz wrote to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.
Firing along the disputed and working boundary between India and Pakistan have left 17 civilians dead in the worst skirmishes in a decade.
In December last year, Pakistan and India had pledged to uphold the 2003 LoC ceasefire accord which had been left in tatters by repeated violations that year. The truce breaches had put the nascent bilateral peace dialogue on hold. Ceasefire violations along the LoC and working boundary between Pakistan and India continue intermittently however, with casualties reported on both sides.
The Himalayan territory of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by the UN-monitored de facto border of LoC but is claimed in full by both the countries.
Sartaj Aziz' letter underlined the need to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council. It reminded the United Nations and the international community about their role and responsibility in this regard.
The letter reads:
I write to bring to your urgent attention the deteriorating security situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as along the working boundary between Pakistan and India, owing to deliberate and unprovoked violations of the ceasefire agreement and cross-border firing by the Indian forces over the past weeks.
As you are aware, the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is one of the long outstanding issues on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, whose resolutions promising the holding of a plebiscite, under the auspices of the United Nations, for self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, remain valid though unimplemented to date. For decades, Pakistan has been reminding the United Nations and the international community to fulfill that promise, in the interest of durable peace and security in the region.
In his address to the UN General Assembly on 26 September, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had emphasised that the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir needed to be resolved. This is the responsibility of the international community. We cannot draw a veil on the issue of Kashmir, until it is addressed in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister had also reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to work for resolution of this issue through negotiations.
You would also recall that, in his meeting with you last month, the Prime Minister had underlined the need to implement UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, and had also stressed the need to resolve the core issues between the two countries.
Unfortunately, India has adopted a policy that runs counter to its stated desire to engage in a serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan. India cancelled, unilaterally and without any plausible justification, the Foreign Secretary level talks that were scheduled to be held on 25 August 2014.
India has now escalated the situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and the Working Boundary. Persistent shelling and firing by Indian forces has resulted in heavy civilian casualties on the Pakistan side. During the period 1-10 October, 2014, 20 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 22 violations along the Working Boundary were reported, resulting in 12 civilian casualties, 52 injured civilians and 9 injured military personnel on the Pakistani side. From June to August 2014, there were 99 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 32 along the Working Boundary. In all, during 2014, 174 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 60 along the Working Boundary have been reported.
While exercising its right to self-defence, Pakistan has exercised utmost restraint and responsibility in responding to these provocations. The Government of Pakistan sincerely hopes that better sense would prevail on the Indian side to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.
Pakistan appreciates your statement of 9 October in which you expressed concern about the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, and have deplored the loss of lives and the displacement of civilians on both sides. You have also encouraged the Governments of India and Pakistan to resolve all differences through dialogue.
Your statement is timely and significant given the historic role and responsibility of the United Nations towards the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) also continues to carry out its mandate related to the strict observance of the ceasefire. Incidentally, as I write, UNMOGIP personnel are being escorted to areas along the Line of Control, to observe first-hand the ongoing ceasefire violations by the Indian side.
Pakistan remains committed to peaceful resolution of all issues between India and Pakistan, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. This is in the best interest of both India and Pakistan and the region. Pakistan believes that the United Nations has an important role to play in promoting this objective, including through your good offices, which we have always welcomed, and the crucial role of the UNMOGIP on ground, which needs to be strengthened and facilitated under the current circumstances.
I would also be grateful if you could have this letter circulated as an official document of the Security Council.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Pakistan warns India of strong military response
Pakistan's top civilian and military leadership have warned India of strong military response to its unprovoked firing across the LoC and the working boundary between the two neighbouring countries at a meeting of the National Security Committee in Islamabad on October 10.
Officials expressed their deep disappointment over the fact that Pakistan’s sincerity has not been reciprocated by India.
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