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Pakistan terms Indian allegations “baseless and unfounded”

January 09, 2013

An Indian army soldier patrols near the Line of Control, the line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, after a reported cease-fire violation, Jan 9, 2013. — Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday strongly rejected what it called “baseless and unfounded allegations” by India of a cross-border attack by Pakistani troops killing two Indian soldiers, adding that it was ready for a probe by a UN observer body into the incident.

“These are baseless and unfounded allegations,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office. “Pakistan is prepared to hold investigations through the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) on the recent ceasefire violations on the Line of Control.”

The statement said it was important that serious efforts be made to maintain the progress and improvement achieved by the neighbouring countries in the dialogue process and bilateral relations, emphasising that “negative propaganda” be avoided.

The Indian army has claimed that firing by Pakistani troops near the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) had killed two Indian soldiers on Tuesday, with one’s head allegedly severed and taken away.

A senior military official in Islamabad had earlier denied that Pakistani troops had been involved in any attack, similarly claiming that India was using “propaganda” to divert attention from a deadly raid on Sunday.

Pakistan’s army says Indian troops crossed the LoC on Sunday and stormed a military post in an attack that left a Pakistani soldier dead and another injured. India has denied crossing the line.

Warning against further escalation

India also summoned Pakistan’s envoy in New Delhi on Wednesday to protest the alleged killing. Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said Pakistani ambassador Salman Bashir had been “spoken to in very strong terms,” but he struck a note of caution and warned against further moves to inflame tensions.

“Whatever has happened, should not be escalated. We cannot and must not allow for an escalation of a very unwholesome event that has taken place,” Khurshid told a press conference.

Khurshid earlier said the attack, which followed a deadly exchange along the border at the weekend in which a Pakistani soldier was killed, was designed to wreck an already fragile peace process.

Relations had been slowly improving over the past few years following a rupture after the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which were blamed by India on Pakistan-based militants.

The clash took place in Mendhar sector, 173 kilometres west of the city of Jammu.

A ceasefire has been in place since 2003 along the Line of Control in Kashmir, but it is accused to have been periodically violated by both sides.