Desire for peace should not be taken as weakness: PM

Flag meeting among military directorates is expected on Tuesday if sanity prevails: Nisar

ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) which met here Friday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, expressed resolve that any attempt to challenge Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty will be responded with full force.

The armed forces assured the NSC that they are fully prepared to deal with any adversity at borders.

The NSC meeting attended by Ministers for Interior and Information, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Chiefs of Army, Naval and Air Staff and other senior civil and military officials discussed the situation arising from unprovoked firing by the Indian security forces across the Line of Control and the working boundary.

The Committee expressed its full confidence in the capability of the armed forces to defend the country against any aggression and safeguard the territorial integrity of Pakistan. The Committee stressed the fact that both countries are aware of each other’s capabilities. It observed that war is not an option and it is shared responsibility of the leadership of both countries to immediately defuse the situation.

The Committee, however, made it clear that Pakistan’s earnest desire for normalizing bilateral relations and defusing the situation at the LoC should not be seen as a sign of weakness. It is in fact a sign of maturity and sincerity.

The Committee expressed hope that both the countries would respect the ceasefire agreement of 2003 and maintain tranquility on the LoC and the working boundary, without indulging in blame-game and point-scoring. It warned that any further escalation will only complicate the environment for meaningful discussion on the Kashmir issue and adversely affect the broader objective of regional cooperation.

The Committee noted with deep concern that the continuing ceasefire violations by Indian forces had led to loss of precious lives and injuries to innocent people, including our fearless soldiers.  Sadly, it said, the unprovoked violations of ceasefire by the Indian security forces occurred in total disregard of the auspicious and festive occasion of Eidul Azha.

The committee offered condolences to the bereaved families of the 13 civilians and sympathies with the injured people. The Committee commended the valiant Jawans, who bravely and duly responded to the aggression.

 

The NSC noted that the Government of Pakistan has pursued a policy of peaceful relations with all its neighbors. It said initiation of peace dialogue of the 1990s, and more recently, participation of the Prime Minister in Indian Prime Minister Modi’s oath-taking ceremony are a manifestation of Pakistan’s sincere desire to constructively engage India to establish durable peace in the region.

The Committee expressed its disappointment that the sincerity demonstrated by Pakistan has not been reciprocated.

 

It said abrupt cancellation of the foreign secretary-level talks by India and refusal to resume the dialogue process are a setback to Pakistan’s efforts to establish good neighborly relations.  The present situation on the LoC and working boundary is a further blow to these efforts.

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. It further noted with regret the irresponsible statements made at the political level in India, in the backdrop of the situation at the LOC and working boundary.

 

Later, briefing the media about the national security committee meeting, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Pakistan will not accept political, military and strategic hegemony of any country in the region.

He said Pakistan’s independence and territorial integrity will be protected at all costs. The country’s armed forces and its people are fully capable to confront any external threat and infiltration.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Pakistan wants to resolve all the issues with India in an environment of peace and dialogue, and the Indian leaders should also shun the course of adventurism for peace and stability in the region. He said nobody should remain in any ambiguity that Pakistan could be suppressed through the use of force or military power.

The Interior Minister said it has been decided that the advisor on foreign affairs will write a letter to the UN Secretary General to register its protest on the incessant ceasefire violations on the line of control. This letter will also draw attention of the UN secretary general towards the need for resolution of longstanding disputes including Kashmir.

The interior minister said special envoys will also be sent to the five important capitals to present Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir and other disputes as well as the escalation of violence on the line of control and working boundary. Ambassadors of important countries will also be summoned to the foreign office to apprise them about Pakistan’s point of view on the recent situation.

The Interior Minister reminded that the incumbent Pakistani government has gone an extra mile to end differences with the neighboring countries including India.  He, however regretted that the Indian side cancelled the scheduled foreign secretary level talks on a baseless pretext. He said Kashmiris are important stakeholders on Kashmir dispute and holding a meeting with them ahead of any talks with the Indian side was a routine matter.

Chaudhry Nisar said the recent unprovoked firing on the line of control by India is not a routine one. Heavy weapons have been used in the massive firing from the other side. He said India might have special motives behind unprovoked firing on the line of control when our armed forces are engaged in an operation in North Waziristan against terrorists.

Extending an offer to probe the situation he said, Pakistan has nothing to hide; it therefore is ever ready to give authority to a third party or an observer group to conduct investigation in order to fetch the ones responsible. In addition to the attacks, Indian representatives’ have been spiting fire that has worsened the situation, he added.  Ch Nisar said flag meeting among the military directorates is expected on Tuesday if sanity prevails.

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