Border clashes: PM summons National Security Council meeting

ISLAMABAD: With the death toll from border clashes crossing 12, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has summoned a meeting of the National Security Council on Friday, Express News reported.
The meeting, which will be held at 10am, will discuss matters pertaining to the continued clashes along the Line of Control (LoC) and the working boundary in Sialkot area as well as progress in the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan.
But the focus is likely to be on the border clashes, which threaten to escalate.
On the Pakistan side, some nine people have already been killed and three injured as Indian security forces continued firing and shelling near the working boundary, state media reported on Wednesday. On the Indian side, three people have reportedly been killed by relaliatory fire from Pakistan.
Military officials say Indian troops have repeatedly resorted to unprovoked firing across the working boundary and LoC for the past three days which has left at least 10 citizens dead and injured 42 others.
Pakistani troops have befittingly responded to every cross border firing from Indian troops.
‘Everything will be fine soon,’ says Modi
Reacting to the cross border attacks, Indian Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi in a cryptic statement on Wednesday said “everything will be fine soon.”
Modi was speaking to reporters at Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Saha’s home where he was attending an event to mark the 82nd Air Force Day, Times of India reported.
India, UN approached
The move comes after Pakistan had already approached United Nations military observers groups, looking for India to be directed to immediately stop shelling and help Islamabad preserve tranquillity.
A day after the Foreign Office lodged a protest with New Delhi on fresh ceasefire violations, Pakistan’s representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Masood Khan, approached the UN military observer group in New York.
Voicing concern over the increase in violations by Indian security forces along the LoC, Masood Khan called on the Indian government to immediately cease fire, according to an official statement.
“It was saddening that the Indian government had not been able to restrain its forces,” he said.
“The government of Pakistan had exercised restraint and extended a hand to India, and this unprovoked firing was a cause of deep concern,” said Masood Khan, while addressing the UN General Assembly plenary meeting.
Indian media reported that Indian troops targeted 37 Pakistani posts which resulted in 15 deaths and more than 30 injuries on the Pakistani side.
In a statement on the matter on Tuesday, Sartaj Aziz, advisor to the prime minister on national security and foreign affairs, stressed that ceasefire at the LoC and the working boundary must be preserved in the larger interest of the region and the peoples of the two countries.
“For seven days now, the Indian security forces have been firing and shelling across the LoC and working boundary,” read Aziz’s statement.
“It is sad that the Indian government has not been able to restrain its forces despite strong diplomatic protest by Pakistan,” he said.
The United States has also expressed concern at the skirmishes. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the US has been in contact with Pakistan and India to encourage the two countries to resolve all issues through dialogue.
Death and displacement
On Wednesday, a woman injured by mortar fire in the Sharkargarh sector of Sialkot succumbed to her injuries, state media in Pakistan added.
Earlier, eight people were killed in the Chaprar Sector due to cross border firing by Indian security forces while three others were injured in Sajeet Garh sector of Sialkot area as a result of shelling.
As many as 20,000 people have so far migrated from the area due to the ongoing exchange of fire between Pakistani and Indian border forces at the working boundary, private television channels reported on Wednesday. We have often called for making full use of the channels available like hotline between DGs MO and Sector Commanders meetings, said Sartaj Aziz in his statement.
“There was an Eid day in Pakistan but the Indian forces, in complete disregard of the festive event, carried on the fire and put four innocent lives to death,” he said.
“The Indian forces played havoc with the lives of four families whose dear ones embraced shahadat,” he added. “We extended a hand of friendship to India. However, with abrupt cancellation of Foreign Secretary level talks, the Indian side has shunned all our peace overtures.”
According to a statement from the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan military retaliated in response to Indian troops firing.
“Fresh ceasefire violation [carried out] by India along working boundary in Pukhlian, Chaprar, Charwa Sector mortar and small arms fire. Being responded effectively,” Director General ISPR Major General Asim Bajwa tweeted.

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