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Pakistan summons Indian envoy; protests 'unacceptable' violations

12 January, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan summoned the Indian ambassador on Friday to protest against "unacceptable and unprovoked" attacks by the Indian army that killed two Pakistani soldiers in five days in Kashmir.

Pakistan said its soldiers were killed on Sunday and Thursday.

On Tuesday, India said two of its soldiers were killed by Pakistani troops and that one of them was beheaded in the disputed Himalayan region, which is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan but ruled in part by each.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said it had summoned India's high commissioner to Islamabad to lodge a "strong protest on the repeated, unacceptable and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers by the Indian army".

Islamabad has also denied any responsibility for the Indian soldiers' deaths.

On Friday, Pakistan called on the Indian government to investigate the "repeated" violations of the ceasefire, which has held along the Line of Control (LoC) – the de facto border in Kashmir – since 2003 and to take steps to prevent them from happening again.

Both countries have appeared determined to prevent the recent killings from wrecking a fragile peace process, which resumed in 2011. Pakistan has also repeated an offer to hold an independent inquiry through the United Nations and reiterated its commitment to peace talks with India, saying the attacks "create unnecessary and avoidable distractions" to peace efforts.

On the ground, more than 300 people demonstrated in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Friday, condemning Indian aggression and accusing Indian troops of ceasefire violations, police said.

The crowd in Muzaffarabad condemned the killings of Pakistani soldiers and dispersed peacefully, local police chief Raja Shafqat told AFP.

The rally was also attended by AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, who accused New Delhi of deliberately disturbing peace in the region and said further protests would be held on Monday. The United States has urged the nuclear-armed rivals to cool tensions along the heavily militarised LoC.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority territory, has been the cause of two of three wars between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947.

End.

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