Basit insists India, Pakistan should formalise ceasefire accord
NEW DELHI, INDIA: “I think the two countries need to agree to formalise the 2003 ceasefire agreement,” said Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit during an event in the capital city on Monday.
Occasional violations of a ceasefire between the nuclear-armed neighbours are common and at a time, when there has been a recent surge in its occurrence and casualties are being reported on both sides, Basit said the two countries need to give the ceasefire agreement a fixed structure by introducing rules.
On Monday only, at least two Pakistani civilians including a minor girl were killed after Indian troops opened indiscriminate fire along the de facto border. Pakistan has protested repeatedly with the United Nations (UN) and the Indian government over the killings of civilians by Indian forces at the working boundary and the line of control (LoC).
Regarding India’s bids to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the infamous Uri attack, Basit said, “How on earth it is possible to isolate a country on terrorism when that country itself is the worst victim of terrorism?”
He added, “We need to move from symbolism to substance and from conflict management to conflict resolution.”
The envoy reiterated that Kashmir remained a core issue between the two countries and that Pakistan does not need ‘misplaced jingoism and hyper-nationalism’ to pursue its foreign policy aims.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry on Monday said India should ‘act pragmatically’ in order to resolve bilateral issues and informed that, Pakistan had lodged a protest with India over the Monday’s incident of unprovoked firing at the diplomatic level.
Pakistan also expected that UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) would soon submit its findings on the cross-border firing incidents with its headquarters, he added during a book launch in Islamabad.
Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India, but both claim it in full. Kashmiris in the Indian-held part of the territory have been fighting for decades to break free from New Delhi. They seek either a sovereign state or a merger with Pakistan.
The nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain seven decades ago, two of them over Kashmir. Tensions between Pakistan and India have been boiling since the Modi government accused Pakistan of supporting an assault on its army base in the held Kashmir.