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Indian envoy summoned over LoC violations

ISLAMABAD, Jan 11: The Foreign Office summoned Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal on Friday over the latest ceasefire violation by India along the Line of Control in Kashmir and called for thorough investigations into recent incidents.

Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, while handing over a strong-worded demarche to the Indian envoy, said the repeated attacks on Pakistani soldiers by Indian troops were “unacceptable and unprovoked”.

There have been 10 LoC ceasefire violations by India over as many days in which two Pakistani soldiers have been killed, including one on Thursday in the Tattapani sector.

Mr Jilani reminded the government of India of its commitment to fully implement the ceasefire, urging New Delhi to abide by and respect it.

Mr Sabharwal was asked to convey to the Indian government Pakistan’s demand for thoroughly investigating repeated violations of the ceasefire by Indian troops and taking steps to prevent recurrence of such attacks.

While reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to continuing the peace process with India, Mr Jilani noted that the attacks were contrary to the spirit of normalisation and created “unnecessary and avoidable” distractions in efforts for peace.

“These incidents vitiate the atmosphere and cast a shadow over the peace process,” Mr Jilani later said at a press briefing.

EUROPEAN ENVOYS: The foreign secretary held a separate session with the European envoys based here to brief them about the situation.

He told reporters that he expected European countries to “play a positive role in de-escalating the current situation”.

He reiterated Pakistan’s offer to hold an independent inquiry into the recent incidents of ceasefire violation through the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan. India has refused to participate in UNMOGIP investigations.

“We are aware of the Indian position on this, but our basic contention is that when you are confronted with a situation of varying versions about an incident then there should be no harm in approaching neutral observers. The UNMOGIP has a mandate to investigate such violations.”

Military authorities have already briefed the UNMOGIP about the situation.Mr Jilani said: “It is the only neutral, independent mechanism available to us and only hope. We have reason to believe that in this kind of situation, if an independent, neutral impartial enquiry is conducted, the truth will come out. And the only forum which we can think of, which also has a clear mandate, is the UNMOGIP.”

Officials have also spoken to the US ambassador about the matter. “We will make all diplomatic efforts to ensure that our position is put across to the world community,” Mr Jilani said.

AFP adds: Over 300 people held a demonstration in Muzaffarabad, condemning Indian aggression and accusing Indian troops of ceasefire violations. They condemned the killings of Pakistan soldiers, police said.

Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed also attended the rally and accused India of deliberately disturbing peace in the region. He said more protests would be held on Monday.