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Respect truce, war not the answer, says Pakistan

Respect truce, war not the answer, says Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan and India need to respect a 2003 ceasefire along the Kashmir border to end clashes “without indulging in blame-game and point-scoring”, the Pakistani government said Friday.

In indications that Islamabad desired to de-escalate border tensions, an official statement after a meeting of top civilian and military leadership said war was no solution between India and Pakistan.

“Both countries are aware of each other’s capabilities. War is not an option," the Dawn newspaper quoted the statement as saying at the end of the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting.

"It is shared responsibility of the leadership of both countries to immediately defuse the situation."

Friday's meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Those who took part included Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Advisor on national security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz, and army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif.

Several civilians have been killed and thousands displaced along the winding Jammu and Kashmir border following intense firing and bombing by the Pakistani and Indian armed forces. India and Pakistan have accused each other for the fighting, the worst in over a decade.

The NSC voiced disappointment that India had not reciprocated "Pakistan’s sincerity".

It said the ceasefire violations by India had led to loss of precious lives and injuries to innocents as well as Pakistani soldiers.

“Sadly, the unprovoked violations of ceasefire by the Indian security forces occurred in total disregard of the auspicious and festive occasion of Eidul Azha,” said the statement.

The committee observed that the “abrupt cancellation of the foreign secretary-level talks by India and refusal to resume the dialogue process are a setback to our efforts to establish good neighborly relations”.

India called off peace talks in September after Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi consulted Hurriyat leaders ahead of the bilateral talks.

“The present situation (in Kashmir) is a further blow to these efforts," the statement said.

"The committee noted that these developments have not only disappointed the people in Pakistan and India but the international community too has shared this disappointment."

But it warned that Pakistan’s desire for normalcy on the Line of Control (LOc) "should not be seen as a sign of weakness.

"Any attempt to challenge Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty will be responded with full force."

The NSC stressed that both countries should respect a ceasefire agreement reached in 2003, “without indulging in blame-game and point-scoring”.

Any escalation will "complicate the environment for meaningful discussion on the Kashmir issue and the broader objective of regional cooperation", the Dawn reported.

Interior Minister Khan said Aziz would soon write to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon over the ceasefire violations by India.

“Special emissaries would also be sent to P-5 countries to apprise them about Pakistan's stance over Kashmir and LoC violations by India,” he said.

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