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October 13, 2014

Sartaj Aziz addresses letter to Ban

 
October 13, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Refusing to be browbeaten by India, Pakistan on Sunday took another step to internationalise the unresolved issue of Jammu and Kashmir by approaching the United Nations which was reminded about its role towards the people of disputed region and the UN was asked to fulfil its promises on Kashmir.
Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz addressed a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, updating him on the latest unprovoked ceasefire violations by India.
Due to continued violations of the ceasefire agreement at the working boundary and the Line of Control (LoC), both Pakistanis and Indians have lost their lives and there has been losses to property as well.
“The UN general secretary was informed in the letter about the security situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and the working boundary between Pakistan and India, owing to deliberate and unprovoked violations of the ceasefire agreement and cross-border firing by the Indian forces over the past weeks,” said the spokesperson at the Foreign Office while referring to the letter.
The letter asked the United Nations to activate its mechanism under the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to assign responsibility for the recent escalation between the two countries.
The letter also reminds the secretary general of the need to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and recalls the role and responsibility of the United Nations and the international community in this regard.
Earlier, this week two visiting US senators in New Delhi had also asked New Delhi to allow the UN to intervene as the situation was fast deteriorating. It is likely that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will take parliament into confidence on the developments with regard to relations with India next week when the two Houses of Parliament will be having

their sessions separately. Highly-placed sources told The News that the prime minister would continue to hold brainstorming process with his close aides on external affairs and other stakeholders.
Nawaz Sharif will chair a high-level meeting today (Monday), which will also be attended by Sartaj Aziz, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs, among other senior officials. The meeting will review the overall situation and occurrences on the frontiers with India.
Sartaj Aziz, in a brief chat with The News, said the diplomatic offensive would continue step-by-step and Pakistan will act according to the situation. He said he would be talking to the UNSG soon, who is away from the UN headquarters and currently travelling. He reminded that Pakistan at the moment is not asking for a bigger role for the UNMOGIP but a limited assignment of determining responsibility for the recent escalation. “Pakistan believes that India is responsible for the ongoing violations of ceasefire and is hurling similar allegations at Pakistan,” he said.
Sartaj Aziz said the UN was paying for its observers for a fairly long time, who were stationed in Pakistan. He said India is not cooperating with them under the pretext of Simla Agreement that has impressed upon the need to settle the dispute though bilateral methods.
Meanwhile, in his letter, Saraj Aziz said, “We cannot draw a veil on the issue of Kashmir, until it is addressed in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.” He recalled that firing along the disputed and working boundary between India and Pakistan had left 17 civilians dead in the worst skirmishes in a decade. In December last year, Pakistan and India had pledged to uphold the 2003 LoC ceasefire accord, which had been left in tatters by repeated violations that year. The truce breaches had put the nascent bilateral peace dialogue on hold. Ceasefire violations along the LoC and working boundary between Pakistan and India continue intermittently. He said that officials from the UNMOGIP were going to the disputed border to observe the ceasefire violations.
The 711-word letter reads as follows: “Excellency, I write to bring to your urgent attention the deteriorating security situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as along the working boundary between Pakistan and India, owing to deliberate and unprovoked violations of the ceasefire agreement and cross-border firing by the Indian forces over the past weeks. As you are aware, the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is one of the long outstanding issues on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, whose resolutions promising the holding of a plebiscite, under the auspices of the United Nations, for self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, remain valid though unimplemented to date. For decades, Pakistan has been reminding the United Nations and the international community to fulfil that promise, in the interest of durable peace and security in the region. In his address to the UN General Assembly on 26 September, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had emphasised that the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir needed to be resolved. This is the responsibility of the international community. We cannot draw a veil on the issue of Kashmir, until it is addressed in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The prime minister had also reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to work for resolution of this issue through negotiations. You would also recall that, in his meeting with you last month, the prime minister had underlined the need to implement UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, and had also stressed the need to resolve the core issues between the two countries. Unfortunately, India has adopted a policy that runs counter to its stated desire to engage in a serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan. India cancelled, unilaterally and without any plausible justification, the foreign secretary level talks that were scheduled to be held on 25 August 2014. India has now escalated the situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and the working boundary. Persistent shelling and firing by Indian forces has resulted in heavy civilian casualties on the Pakistan side. During the period 1-10 October, 2014, 20 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 22 violations along the working boundary were reported, resulting in 12 civilian casualties, 52 injured civilians and nine injured military personnel on the Pakistani side. From June to August 2014, there were 99 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 32 along the working boundary. In all, during 2014, 174 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 60 along the working boundary have been reported. While exercising its right to self-defence, Pakistan has exercised utmost restraint and responsibility in responding to these provocations. The Government of Pakistan sincerely hopes that better sense would prevail on the Indian side to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control. Pakistan appreciates your statement of 9 October in which you expressed concern about the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, and have deplored the loss of lives and the displacement of civilians on both sides. You have also encouraged the governments of India and Pakistan to resolve all differences through dialogue. Your statement is timely and significant given the historic role and responsibility of the United Nations towards the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) also continues to carry out its mandate related to the strict observance of the ceasefire. Incidentally, as I write, UNMOGIP personnel are being escorted to areas along the Line of Control, to observe first-hand the ongoing ceasefire violations by the Indian side. Pakistan remains committed to peaceful resolution of all issues between India and Pakistan, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. This is in the best interest of both India and Pakistan and the region. Pakistan believes that the United Nations has an important role to play in promoting this objective, including through your good offices, which we have always welcomed, and the crucial role of the UNMOGIP on ground, which needs to be strengthened and facilitated under the current circumstances. I would also be grateful if you could have this letter circulated as an official document of the Security Council. Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

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