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Pakistan protests cross-border firing, Indian envoy summoned

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Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday summoned Indian envoy J.P. Singh here to lodge a protest against the recent “un-provoked ceasefire violations” by Indian forces on the Line of Control.

New Delhi had on Sunday called Islamabad’s envoy to convey anger over the recent border violations with high calibre weapons by Pakistani troops.

The Pakistani foreign ministry claimed that three people were killed and 15 civilians were also injured as a result of the latest Indian fire along the LoC in the disputed Kashmir region.

“The Indian Deputy High Commissioner was called by the Dir. Gen. (South Asia & SAARC) on Monday. A protest was lodged against un-provoked ceasefire violations on August 15 to 16, by Indian troops at the Line of Control in Kotli Sector, which resulted in killing of three civilians,” the foreign ministry said.

“The Deputy High Commissioner was conveyed that the Indian side must investigate the incident, share the findings of the investigations with Pakistan, instruct its troops to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit, and maintain peace on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir,” a statement said.

On its part, India on Sunday summoned Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi to lodge a strong protest and convey anger over un-provoked firing.

Anil Wadhwa, secretary (East) in the ministry, “lodged a protest, and conveyed our (India’s) anger, at the unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops since August 8, particularly with regard to the incidents of yesterday (Saturday) and today (Sunday) in Poonch that saw the systematic targeting of our civilian population and the use of high calibre weapons including artillery”, said an Indian external affairs ministry statement.

“The issue of continued unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops since August 8 had been raised on several occasions at the DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) level.

“Assurances were also received from the Pakistan military authorities that the firings would stop and their troops would be instructed accordingly. But in fact, the firings have continued up until today,” it said.

The Pakistani statement said Islamabad noted with regret and deep concern that during the last two months, so far, there have been 70 ceasefire violations from the Indian side of the LoC and the Working Boundary.

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Pakistan and India declared ceasefire in 2003 and guns had been relatively silent along the LoC. However, both sides occasionally exchange fire. An escalation has been seen in recent weeks.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, met in Russian city of Ufa last month and agreed on a meeting of the national security advisors which is set for August 22.

(IANS)

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Vow To Hold Peace Talks With India: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepares to speak at the opening of the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday vowed to hold peace talks with arch-rival India following elections in the neighbouring country, after a similar offer from the former cricketer was “rebuffed.”

Khan made the announcement during a speech at a Saudi Arabian investment conference where the newly minted leader launched a charm offensive targeting potential investors as Pakistan seeks to secure funds amid a yawning balance of payment crisis.

“When I won the elections and came to power the first thing I tried to do was extend a hand of peace to India,” Khan told the crowd at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, saying the overture was later “rebuffed” by Delhi.

“Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India,” he added, referring to upcoming nationwide polls scheduled to take place by mid-May.

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Imran Khan, wikimedia commons

In September India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a UN summit — a move that was termed “arrogant” by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both since independence in 1947.

Delhi has stationed about 500,000 soldiers in the portion of Kashmir it controls, where separatist groups demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Khan’s call for peace talks comes as his administration is desperately seeking funds from “friendly” countries, including Saudi Arabia, to shore up Pakistan’s deteriorating finances.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, surrounded by host country representatives and other participants, attends an investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

The prime minister’s attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

During his address at the FII Khan confirmed that Pakistan was also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new bailout.

Also Read: Pakistan Fears Economic Turmoil, Re-thinks ‘Silk Road’ Project With China

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of high-profile populist austerity measures.

But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent. (VOA)