Pakistan plans to lodge a complaint against India at the United Nations, accusing it of “eco-terrorism” over air strikes that damaged pine trees and brought the nuclear-armed nations to blows, a government minister said on Friday.
India and Pakistan are amidst their biggest stand-off in many years, with the United States and other global powers mediating to de-escalate tensions between arch-foes who have fought three wars since independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
India had on Tuesday conducted air strikes at terror camps in Balakot, the biggest training camp, which New Delhi said was being run by Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar’s nephew. Pakistan claimed there were any such camps in the area and locals said only one elderly villager was hurt.
Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Malik Amin Aslam said Indian jets bombed a “forest reserve” and the government was undertaking an environmental impact assessment, which will be the basis of a complaint at the United Nations and other forums.
“What happened over there is environmental terrorism,” Aslam told Reuters, adding that dozens of pine trees had been felled. “There has been serious environmental damage.”
Two Reuters reporters who visited the site of the bombings, where four large craters could be seen, said up to 15 pine trees had been brought down by the blasts.
The United Nations states that “destruction of the environment, not justified by military necessity and carried out wantonly, is clearly contrary to existing international law”, according to the UN General Assembly resolution 47/37.
India and Pakistan are also engaged in a diplomatic tussle, with New Delhi vowing to isolate Pakistan over its links to militant groups. Islamabad is currently putting pressure on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to uninvite External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj from their next meeting.