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India been cautioned against any strategic miscalculation: FO

09 June, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: India could be seeking conflict with Pakistan, warned Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria at his weekly media briefing on Thursday. The spokesman’s statement has come amid escalating tension along the Line of Control (LoC), which is witnessing a sharp increase in ceasefire violations. Mr Zakaria said India had been cautioned against any “strategic miscalculation”. The operations chiefs of Pakistani and Indian armies had, during an unscheduled hotline conversation earlier this week, traded threats of retaliatory actions. India, it is said, has intensified shelling along the LoC to distract world attention from aggravating human rights situation in held Kashmir. Some nine people, including students, were killed in the valley last week by Indian security agencies. Spokesman expresses concern over Saudi-Qatar rift, calls for unity among Muslim countries India is said to have breached ceasefire along the LoC some 400 times this year, which is more than the total tally of violations last year — 382. The number of violations of the 2003 ceasefire accord by India has steeply increased over the past few years. For the first time in 13 years, India used artillery on the LoC last year in what was seen as an indication of its desire to escalate tension. The deteriorating situation has been noted with concern by the international community. The FO spokesman said: “We have no desire to escalate the situation. Pakistani armed forces would respond effectively to any unprovoked violations.” He said: “The Indian belligerence is a threat to regional peace and security.” A Voice of America report had last week pointed to the probability of Indian troops picking up at least two civilians from Pakistani territory and killing them as intruders. The report had noted denial by Pakistani officials of the claim by the son of a man killed by the Indian army that his father had been taken away from this side of the LoC. Meanwhile, Pakistan has raised the issue of human rights violations in India-held Kashmir at the Council of Human Rights in Geneva at its 35th session. Both Pakistan and India are joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at its 17th summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, which began on Thursday. The spokesman said: “Pakistan abides by SCO charter and will fulfil its obligations as per the Shanghai spirit. We believe that all countries have an important and positive role to play to establish peace in the region and resolve disputes through peaceful means. Pakistan fully supports every effort in this direction.” Breaking its studied silence on the widening rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia plus its allies, the spokesman said Pakistan was concerned over the developments. “Pakistan believes in unity among Muslim countries. We have made consistent efforts for its promotion. The situation, therefore, is a matter of concern,” he said. The government had been avoiding commenting on the crisis in the Middle East. The spokesman, however, avoided commenting on the visit of a Qatari delegation. Abdul Hadi Al-Hajri, a special emissary of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has visited Pakistan while leading a six-member delegation, according to a diplomatic source. During his two-day stay in Pakistan ending on Thursday, Mr Hajri, a frequent visitor to Pakistan and a close friend of the Sharifs, met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore. The delegation reportedly carried a message of Qatar’s emir about his country’s diplomatic crisis. The Qatari delegation returned to Doha from Islamabad on Thursday afternoon.

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