ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry has said that Pakistan is committed to peace with India despite the escalation along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary.
“Pakistan will continue to pursue a policy of peaceful relations with its neighbours. Peace with India is a priority item on Pakistan’s foreign policy agenda,” the foreign secretary said on Thursday at a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, which was convened to discuss the crisis on the de-facto border with India.
The current episode of ceasefire violations that began on Sept 30 has been one of the worst in years in which 12 Pakistani citizens, including women and children, have been killed. Indian troops are said to have fired about 36,000 rounds across 900 kilometres of the LoC and Working Boundary.
Various explanations have been given for the escalation by the Indians along the LoC and Working Boundary, but Mr Chaudhry refused to enter into “speculations” over them.
In its diplomatic response to the situation, Pakistani government wrote letters to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the president of UN Security Council, besides briefing the envoys of P-5 countries in Islamabad and the rest of the diplomatic corps based here on the situation and directing Pakistani ambassadors abroad to raise the issue with their host countries.
“We took clear steps towards internationalising the matter,” the foreign secretary said and claimed the move had had “a sobering effect” on the Indians.
Mr Chaudhry said the intensity of firing from India had decreased after Pakistan’s diplomatic offensive.
He hoped that Delhi would realise that “its approach was fraught with unnecessary risks”.
Pakistan is awaiting UN secretary general’s reply to the letter written by Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz asking him to use his good offices for defusing the situation and strengthening the role of UN military observers.
Mr Aziz is expecting to speak to Mr Ban in the coming days.
In the meantime, observers from UNMOGIP, who visited the Pakistani side of the de-facto border, are also likely to submit their report, which is expected to help Islamabad build its case in the matter.
Pakistan is also expecting that the UN secretary general would reaffirm UNMOGIP’s role as observers of ceasefire, which Delhi refuses to accept.
Adviser Aziz suspected that India had “a much bigger plan” and the crisis was not just about LoC and the working boundary.
“It’s about integrating Kashmir and neutralising Pakistan by pressurising it. LoC is not the total strategy... it’s part of the strategy,” he warned.
Justifying the Pakistani government’s response, which was criticised by members of the committee as defensive, Mr Aziz said Pakistan had to win the world’s sympathies. “We should be firm, but not the aggressor,” he added.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2014