Pak simply responding to situation at LoC: Foreign Office

Islamabad: Blaming India for the escalation of tension along the borders, Pakistan today said it is only responding to the situation created on the Line of Control.

“We did not start the violation of the ceasefire, we have not escalated the situation and our response has been strong but measured,” Foreign Office (FO) spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said at the weekly briefing.

“We are simply responding to a situation that has been created on the LoC and the working boundary,” she said.

Aslam said that it was wrong to ascribe any motive to Pakistan in the ongoing border flare-up.

“You may keep in mind that on the other side of the LoC, there are Kashmiris who are our own brothers and sisters. They are our own people. So, we are exercising great care to avoid civilian casualties to the extent possible,” she said.

Aslam said that Pakistan took the UNMOGIP observers recently to the border to show them the damage.

“UMMOGIP is a neutral observer. They are here to monitor the situation. So, the best option would be for India to allow them visit the LoC as we facilitate their visit to our side of the Line of Control and working boundary.

“They can then come up with their own findings and recommendations. That should be acceptable to India if indeed it believes that LoC violations were started by Pakistan,” she said.

The FO spokesperson said that Pakistan was a “strong country” and by firing on the LoC or by escalating the situation at the border, it cannot be brought to the negotiating table.

She said Pakistan had done all it could to promote peace and for resumption of the dialogue process but India cancelled the scheduled Foreign Secretary level talks in August.

To a question that India might have escalated the situation due to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UN General Assembly, she said, “Advocacy of the right of self-determination of people of Kashmir is Pakistan’s historic responsibility and a commitment.”

“That should be understood. I will not guess the reasons. The matter of escalation and violations of ceasefire by India was taken up by our Permanent Representative to the UN in New York during the General Assembly debate,” she said.

The FO said, “The international community is also watching the situation and already there have been statements expressing concern and calling for the need of resumption of dialogue to resolve the disputes between Pakistan and India.”

India and Pakistan have been trading heavy mortar and gun fire along the international border and LoC since October 1.

While eight people died and 90 others, including 13 security men, were injured in the firing by Pakistani troops in Jammu and Kashmir, in Pakistan 13 civilians have been killed.

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