India trying to disrupt Afghan peace talks: NSC

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Shafaqna Pakistan: The National Security Committee (NSC) on Sunday condemned the Indian Army’s destabilising efforts in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) at a time when Pakistan and the international community are focused on resolving the Afghan conflict.

The civil and military leadership through the NSC of the federal cabinet vowed to respond befittingly to any misadventure or aggression by the Indian forces against Pakistan.

Addressing the NSC, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to respond to any Indian misadventure or aggression with full support of the nation. The NSC chaired by the prime minister here maintained that Pakistan remains ready to defenditself and will continue to provide all out diplomatic, moral and political support to the brave people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) in their indigenous struggle to get justice and their right to self-determination in line with the UN Security Council resolutions.

The meeting was attended among others by Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, ministers concerned, services chiefs, intelligence gathering outfits and foreign secretary.

Imran Khan said that Pakistan will always stand with the Kashmiris in all circumstances and will not be deterred from its just stance based on the UNSC resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people. He said India is totally disregarding international obligations and its arrogance will only result in heightening the conflict dynamics in the region. The prime minister invited attention of world leaders and international bodies towards irresponsible, unilateral and irrational behaviour of the Indian leadership.

The meeting was briefed about India’s deplorable suppression of people of IHK, plans to use bogey of terrorism for political ends disregarding situation on ground, use of cluster munitions against civilians to provoke Pakistan and use of disinformation to confuse the real intent which is changing the demographic structure and the internationally-recognised disputed status of IHK.

The meeting was summoned in the wake of the Indian Army’s use of cluster ammunition to target the civilian population in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) across the Line of Control (LoC) in sheer violation of the Geneva Conventions and international law. The meeting condemned Indian Army’s destabilising efforts in AJK and IHK at a time when Pakistan and the international community are focused on resolving the Afghan conflict. The meeting also noted that aggression by the Indian forces will increase the level of violence and turn the region into a flashpoint and a destabilising factor.

“The more India is exposed internally and internationally in its machinations, the more there are chances that it may resort to desperate and risky options including false flag operations,” said the statement issued after culmination of two hours long meeting.

In a major escalation in the ceasefire violations, India has begun using cluster munitions on civilian population living close to the LoC. The use of cluster bombs on Neelum Valley over the past few days has caused multiple fatalities and injuries to several others, including minor children. Over the past few years, besides a spike in terms of intensity of ceasefire breaches, India has also resorted to calibre escalation and air space violations along LoC. The use of cluster bomb is therefore a step further towards escalation in the situation along the LoC.

In a tweet, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif condemned the deaths of the Kashmiris from cluster bombs fired by Indian troops. He called on United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to take immediate notice of the situation and to play his role in stopping the murder of innocent civilians in Kashmir. Additionally, he asked the UN Security Council and the rest of the world to take notice of Indian brutalities in IHK.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed that on the night of July 30 and 31, the Indian Army targeted civilian population in the Neelum Valley through artillery using cluster ammunition, which led to martyrdom of two civilians, including a four-year-old boy, and injuries to 11 others. The ISPR also released pictures of scattered munitions as well as those of the victims.

There are some 500,000 Indian security forces already based in the region. The Indian government has also introduced other security measures, including a call to stock up food and fuel over so-called terror threat claims. According to figures, India has committed 1,876 ceasefire violations so far this year, martyring 19 civilians and injuring at least 148 more. More than a dozen civilians have been martyred in the Indian aggression over the last two weeks alone.