Tuesday, 30 November 2021

UN asked to probe killing of kids at LoC

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan handed over a dossier regarding the ceasefire violations by India to the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) – as tension continued to rise between the nuclear armed neighbours. Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said the detailed dossier on ceasefire violations by India was given to the representative of the UNMOGIP at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi after the death of four children at the hands of Indian forces in Khoi Ratta Sector along the Line of Control (LoC) this week. “Pakistan has asked the UNMOGIP to investigate the incident on the basis of the provided evidence,” he said. Three girls and a boy were killed in “unprovoked firing” by the Indian forces in Singhala village of Khui Ratta sub-sector of Kotli district. The victims were Riba,4, Faiza, 7, Shazia,8, and Shehzad, 16.

Nafees Zakaria strongly condemned the deadly “unprovoked firing” by the Indian forces. Recently, there have been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including that of civilians. On his official Twitter account, the spokesman said the dossier contains all details about the unending ceasefire violations by the Indian forces. Later in a PTV programme, Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan was taking up the issue of escalation on its border, with the repeated aggression by the Indian forces, at the international level. He said the whole situation was directly linked with the Kashmir issue and the regional peace. Relations between Pakistan and India have dipped to a new low after Pakistan alleged that an Indian submarine tried to enter its territorial waters. Islamabad is also accusing New Delhi of fomenting a rebellion on its territory, while Kashmir remains on high alert.

Pakistan said that it “tracked” the vessel “mimicking” its behaviour, before “pushing” it back out of its waters. It also published a brief video of what appears to be a submarine mast coming to the surface. Hostilities between the two countries spiralled after militants killed 19 soldiers inside an Indian army base in held Kashmir in September. New Delhi alleged that attackers had been harboured and financed by Pakistan, and executed “surgical strikes” across the border in the weeks that followed. Pakistan rejected the claim. The two countries have gone to war over the region thrice since becoming independent states in 1947, and mortar and gunfire exchanges have prompted both to evacuate villagers from the border regions. Pakistan and India have also expelled each other’s diplomats for alleged espionage, while the latest spike has come after Islamabad accused its neighbour of arming rebels in its restive Balochistan province. India has voiced support for the local nationalist movement, but denies meddling.

After the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, the two countries signed the Simla Agreement in 1972 to define the LoC in Kashmir. Pakistan and India disagree on the UNMOGIP’s mandate in Kashmir because India argues the mandate of the agency lapsed after the Simla agreement. However, the secretary-general of the United Nations maintained that the UNMOGIP should continue to function because no resolution had been passed to terminate it. Pakistan military has continued to lodge complaints with the UNMOGIP about ceasefire violations, but India stopped doing since January 1972.

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