Pak calls for OIC probe into LoC ceasefire violations

Seeking to internationalise tensions along the Line of Control, Pakistan has called for an investigation into the recent incidents there by the OIC.

Islamabad: Seeking to internationalise tensions along the Line of Control, Pakistan has called for an investigation into the recent incidents there by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

"We would also welcome an OIC fact-finding mission to investigate the recent incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC," Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said while addressing a meeting of the OIC contact group on Kashmir in Cairo yesterday.

She reiterated that Pakistan is ready to work with the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan to carry out an independent inquiry into the ceasefire violations.

Earlier, Pakistan`s attempt to rope in the UN by demanding a probe by UNMOGIP was foiled by India, which rejected it saying the matter can be settled bilaterally.

Clashes between Indian and Pakistani troops last month were among the worst violations of the ceasefire that was put in place along the 742-km LoC in late 2003.

One Indian soldier was beheaded while the body of another jawan was mutilated by the Pakistan army men in ceasefire violations in Mendhar sector in Poonch last month. Pakistan claims three of its soldiers were killed in Indian firing.

Khar again contended that there were "negative and hostile statements emanating from the Indian leadership" during the ceasefire violations.

She said Pakistan chose to "exercise restraints to keep the Pakistan-India peace process on track".

"Pakistan has entered into dialogue with India in good faith to amicably resolve the Kashmir dispute. We are earnestly implementing the cross-LoC confidence-building measures to bring relief to the divided families and reduce the sufferings of the Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC," she said in her address.

The CBMs had contributed towards creating a "congenial environment between the two countries to address the issue of Jammu and Kashmir", she said.

Khar said she had told her Indian counterpart of the need to address the Kashmir dispute "in the larger interest of bringing peace and stability to South Asia and ameliorating the sufferings of the Kashmiri people".

Pakistan, Khar said, is "convinced that the key to enduring peace and security in South Asia lies in resolving the longstanding dispute of Kashmir".

Islamabad is committed to finding a peaceful solution in line with UN Security Council resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiris, she said.

"To this end we believe that the Kashmiris should be associated with the dialogue process," she said.

Khar called on the Indian government to initiate appropriate steps for an early resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

She thanked the OIC for extending support to the Kashmir cause. She also alleged that rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir were continuing.

"Despite the signals that sometime emanate from India that the security forces presence in Kashmir would be reduced, the number of the Indian occupied forces has not gone down," she alleged.

"Pakistan reiterates it demand and calls upon the government of India to exercise restraint, stop killing of innocent Kashmiris and ensure those responsible for such crimes are brought to justice," she said.

The contact group on Kashmir met on the sidelines of an OIC summit.

The OIC secretary general reaffirmed the organisation`s commitment to the Kashmir issue.

The contact group decided to invite Azerbaijan to join the group and attend future meetings.