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Pakistan-India relations Timeline 2015 - 2019

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Note: The developments regarding Pakistan-India relations and the Kashmir Dispute since January 2015. The news regarding Kashmir is highlighted in green. Please note that the following timeline does not include ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary. The time line also does not include developments regarding Kulbhushan Jadhav case.  

Written by Muhammad Abdul Qadeer

YEAR 2016

DECEMBER 2016

On December 30, China blocked India’s request at the UN to list Masood Azhar, the chief of banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as a designated terrorist.

Following the decision, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Vikas Swarup said “This decision by China is surprising as China itself has been affected by the scourge of terrorism.” Beijing said the decision was made following the absence of consensus on the issue among members of the UN committee. This is the third time China has imposed “technical hold” on India’s proposal. During the meeting between Indian National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval and China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi in November 2016, China said that there would be no change in its approach toward Masood Azhar. China has previously maintained “The 1267 Committee should base its judgments on solid evidence and decide upon consensus among the members of the Security Council.” India has accused Jaish-e-Mohammad and its chief, Masood Azhar of masterminding several attacks, including assault on an Indian air base in January 2016.



In a letter to Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank on December 23, Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar urged the World Bank to appoint the chairman of the Court of Arbitration as per the Indus Water Treaty on Pak-India dispute over Kishanganga and Ratle projects.

Dar also noted in his letter that the group’s decision of putting a hold on the process of formation of a court of arbitration would “seriously prejudice” Pakistan’s interests and its rights under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). The letter was in response to the World Bank’s decision to put the process of “empanelment of the Court of Arbitration” on hold. Pakistan had approached the World Bank on September 27, 2016, against India’s construction of Ratle and Kishanganga hydropower dams located in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), seeking the formation of an arbitration court on this matter. India, meanwhile, suggested appointing a single neutral expert for mediation. The World Bank ‘temporarily’ paused the appointment of a neutral expert requested by India and the chairman of the Court of Arbitration requested by Pakistan, to resolve issues. The World Bank said that the “processes initiated by India and Pakistan were advancing at the same time, creating a risk of contradictory outcomes that could potentially endanger the Treaty.”



BBC reported on December 22 that India is stepping up efforts to maximise its use of the western rivers of the Indus basin. Citing an Indian official the report noted that the move would involve building huge storage facilities and canals.

The three rivers flow through Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) but most of the water is allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). The officials, however, said the move would not violate the IWT. Meanwhile, quoting unnamed experts the report said that India is using the water issue to pressurise Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir. The IWT was signed in 1960 and allocated the three eastern rivers the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej to India, while the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab were allocated to Pakistan. Pakistan’s concerns increased after Indian PM Narendra Modi threatened to block waters flowing into Pakistan. Earlier, on December 1, Pakistan’s Foreign Office had also warned India of its obligations under the IWT and cautioned that New Delhi’s own credibility would suffer if the accord were violated. Islamabad has made it clear to New Delhi that any such move would be considered an “act of war”. On December 19, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), charged Jaish-eMohammed (JeM) and its chief Masood Azhar for attacking the Pathankot air force base in January 2016. 30 India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) said that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief, Masood Azhar was the mastermind behind the Pathankot attack and that all four gunmen who attacked the air base were Pakistani nationals. The charge-sheet cited DNA samples, Pakistani food packets, a walkie-talkie set and a note found in a car used by the militants to drive to the base. Authorities in India say that evidence would be offered to Pakistan to take action against the perpetrators of the assault. India had accused Pakistan for the January 2 Pathankot attack which resulted in the death of at least seven Indian soldiers. Following the attack, Pakistan took Masood Azhar, into ‘protective custody’ and also sent its probe team including officials from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to investigate the attack. However, the investigating team, on returning home, claimed that India did not share credible evidence and also did not allowed it to investigate security officials.



On December 15, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, strongly condemned Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh’s statement that Pakistan would soon be in ten pieces if cross border terrorism did not come to an end.

Singh made these remarks while addressing a gathering in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) on December 7, 2016. Foreign Office spokesman, Zakaria said that Singh’s remarks justified Pakistan’s long-standing claim that the Indian government and its intelligence agencies are involved in subversive activities in Pakistan. Reiterating Islamabad’s concerns over Indian interference in the country, Zakaria called on the international community to take notice of the ‘irresponsible statements’ by the Indian home minister. Pakistan regularly accuses India of destabilising the country and carrying out subversive activities, particularly in Balochistan and Karachi.



On December 12, the World Bank Group (WBG) announced a pause in the separate processes initiated by India and Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) saying it is doing so “to allow the two countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements.”

Pakistan had approached the World Bank on September 27, 2016, against India’s construction of Ratle and Kishanganga hydropower Dams located in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and sought the formation of an arbitration court on this matter. India, meanwhile, suggested appointing a single neutral expert for mediation. The World Bank said it has temporarily halted the appointment of a neutral expert requested by India and the chairman of the Court of Arbitration requested by Pakistan, to resolve issues concerning the two hydroelectric power plants under construction by India on the Indus River system. The WB said that both the “processes initiated by India and Pakistan were advancing at the same time, creating a risk of contradictory outcomes that could potentially endanger the Treaty.” According to media reports, Pakistan will now ask India to address Islamabad’s concerns on the design of the Ratle and Kishanganga Dams. Meanwhile, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, said India remains fully conscious of its international obligations and is ready to engage in further consultations on the matter of resolving current differences regarding these two projects. 28 Pakistan’s concerns increased after Indian PM Narendra Modi threatened to block waters flowing into Pakistan. Earlier on December 1, Pakistan’s Foreign Office reminded India of its obligations under the IWT and cautioned that New Delhi’s own credibility would suffer if the accord was violated. Islamabad has made it clear to New Delhi that any such move would be considered an “act of war”.



During his meeting with members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 8, PM Nawaz Sharif’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs, Tariq Fatemi, informed US lawmakers that India’s ‘hostility and belligerence’ has negative implications for peace in South Asia. Fatemi also met with Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Committee acknowledged Pakistan’s role in promoting peace and security in the region. Separately, Tariq Fatemi also met Senator John McCain, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and discussed bilateral relations and regional security. He also highlighted massive human rights violations by Indian forces in IOK as well as the continuing tensions across the Line of Control (LoC). Fatemi’s visit to the US is part of Islamabad’s outreach efforts to the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump who will assume office on January 20, 2017.



On December 8, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, expressed hope that the international community would pressurise India to stop human rights abuses in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and resume dialogue with Pakistan.

Zakaria added that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and several countries, including the US, China and Iran have offered to mediate between Pakistan and India for a resolution of the conflict, but India has repeatedly rejected the offers. He stressed that any dialogue with India should be “result-oriented and sustainable”, and not just empty talk. The spokesman criticised India for using multilateral fora like the Heart of Asia Conference for maligning Pakistan. Meanwhile, during Tariq Fatemi’s meeting with Secretary General-designate Antonio Guterres in New York, Fatemi said that Pakistan expects the UN to play its role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan maintains that India is deflecting world attention from human rights abuses in IOK. Earlier on November 30, 2016, Zakaria raised concerns that India has deployed more than 1 million troops in IOK and termed it a major obstacle in the implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir.



On December 4, US Vice-President-elect Mike Pence stated that President-elect Donald Trump could use his “extraordinary deal-making skills” to reduce tensions around the world and resolve problems, including the Kashmir issue.

Mike Pence said that the new US Administration intends to be ‘fully engaged’ in South Asia and with India and Pakistan on issues such as Kashmir to promote peace and security in the region. Earlier, in October 2016, Trump termed India-Pakistan tensions as a “very, very hot tinderbox” adding that he would “love to be the mediator or arbitrator if the two countries wanted him to.” Pakistan had welcomed Trump’s offer of mediation.



During the sixth Heart of Asia ministerial conference in the Indian city of Amritsar on December 4, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz criticised Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for what he termed “baseless accusations” against Pakistan and called for evolving a joint and purposeful strategy for lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Aziz said that peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban had not produced positive results, adding that Pakistan was making a serious effort to facilitate peace talks through the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG). Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani suggested Pakistan “take back” the $500 million aid given for development projects in Afghanistan (although in reality it has been spent already according to Pakistani sources), and said in his speech that Afghanistan “needs aid to fight terrorism” and called on Pakistan to “verify crossborder activities.” The Afghan President also appreciated India’s support to Afghanistan, which he said comes “with no strings attached.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at the conference termed terrorism “the biggest threat to Afghanistan’s peace and the region,” adding “we must counter terrorists and their masters.” The Indian PM also said India is committed to ‘durable peace’ in Afghanistan, and announced plans to connect India and Afghanistan via an air link, as well as discussing the possibility of trilateral cooperation over Iran’s Chahbahar port.



On December 2, Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, endorsed severe retaliation to violations of the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir by Indian forces.

General Bajwa also ordered his commanders to “respond with full force” and “in the most effective manner” to “each violation of any kind” after he visited the LoC. Tensions at the LoC have been on the rise due to the worst exchanges of fire between the two sides since the 2003 ceasefire accord. At least 39 civilians and 12 soldiers have been killed since September 2016 on the Pakistani side.

 

NOVEMBER 2016

On November 29, at least seven Indian soldiers were killed in an attack on an Indian military base in Indian Occupied Kashmir. According to reports Indian troops killed four suspected militants during the operation.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack is the worst since militants attacked an Indian army base in Uri that killed 19 soldiers. India immediately blamed Pakistan for the attack. Meanwhile, the latest attack on an Indian base comes at a time when Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser is scheduled to visit India for the Hear of Asia Summit. Attacks against Indian security forces have increased since Indian security forces rejects the charges.



On November 25, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi reiterated his threat of blocking river waters flowing into Pakistan from Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Modi made these remarks while addressing farmers in India. Modi also said the Nawaz Sharif government is still upset over surgical strikes by Indian forces.

Modi said, “Now every drop of this water of the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej will be stopped and I will give that to the farmers of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir”. The warning to choke Pakistani waters is the latest in a series of threats by Indian PM during the last two months. Earlier on October 7, 2016, Narendra Modi warned that “blood and water cannot flow together.”



On November 28, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India, Abdul Basit called for an end to hostilities along the Line of Control (LoC) and for turning the 2003 ceasefire into a formal agreement.

While commenting on tensions at the India-Pakistan border, Basit said, “Escalation along the Line of Control is not in Pakistan’s nor in India’s interest.” He said that the Pakistan army is heavily deployed along the country’s western borders as part of Operation Zarb-i-Azb and it is wrong to say that the escalation is being fuelled by Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria raised concerns on November 30, 2016 that India has deployed more than 1 million troops in IOK and termed it a major obstacle in implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir.



During his visit to Pakistan on November 25, British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson urged Pakistan and India to end hostilities and resume dialogue.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz, Secretary Johnson said Britain was concerned over the incidents taking place along the LoC and called upon the two sides to end violence and exercise restraint. The two sides also reviewed the progress being made towards strengthening bilateral cooperation in terms of increasing trade, promoting investment and also expressed satisfaction over progress in the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue.



According to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on November 23, Indian troops shelled civilian populations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and hit a passenger bus, leaving 11 civilians dead and 21 others injured.

Three Pakistani soldiers were also killed at the LoC following cross-border firing by the Indian troops. In a related development on November 24, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon expressed “deep concern” about the deteriorating situation along the LoC in Kashmir. Ban also called on all involved to prioritise the restoration of calm and stability in order to prevent further escalation and loss of life. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), “Indian forces also fired on an ambulance which went to evacuate the victims.” In a statement, PM Nawaz Sharif termed the incident as India’s “naked aggression” along the LoC. He condemned what he called “unprovoked firing” by Indian security forces on a bus carrying innocent civilians. Meanwhile, the Pakistani military confirmed the killing of seven Indian soldiers in retaliation. However, there was no confirmation by India. India said on November 22, 2016 that three of its soldiers were killed in cross border firing by Pakistani troops. Tensions between the two sides have escalated in recent months, with increased incidents of cross-border firing. Pakistan has urged the international community to help defuse tensions with India, adding that targeting of civilians living along the LoC could not be further tolerated. Earlier on November 21, four civilians were killed and 10 others injured in Indian firing along the LoC. Pakistan accuses India of deflecting world attention from human rights abuses in IOK. At least 90 protesters have died in IOK following violent unrest against Indian rule since the killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016. Analysts have warned that the escalation may prove devastating, as both states possess nuclear weapons.



According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on November 19, Pakistani forces downed an Indian drone trying to infiltrate Pakistani airspace, near the LoC.

The ISPR statement noted that the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was a small quad copter type vehicle, adding that it had intruded some 60 metres into the Pakistani side. The Indian military uses quad copters for taking images of Pakistani posts along the LoC as part of its intelligence gathering operations and target selection before carrying out cross-LoC shelling.



On November 18, Pakistan Navy said it drove away an Indian submarine attempting to enter Pakistani waters. In a statement issued by the Navy’s Public Relations Directorate (NPRD), “The submarine was detected and localised south of Pakistani coast,” adding that the submarine was, “continuously tracked by Pakistan Navy fleet units and pushed well clear of our waters.”

The Pakistan Navy also released video footage and photographs of the Indian submarine. The detection of India’s German made HDW Type 209 diesel-electric submarine coincided with the operation of cargo ships from the Gwadar port. Indian navy spokesman DK Sharma denied the Pakistani claim, saying it was “all blatant lies”.



On November 18, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria said that the statement of the Indian defence minister questioning his country’s no-first-use nuclear weapons policy was a “manifestation of India’s doublespeak and a threat to the region’s peace and security”.

Earlier, on November 10, Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar questioned India’s nuclear doctrine saying that India should say it will use “nuclear weapons responsibly” instead of stressing on “no first use”. Zakaria said, “India’s ambiguous no first use declaration is not verifiable adding that Pakistan had time and again cautioned the international community of “Indian tendency towards adventurism.” Referring to India’s nuclear doctrine, Parrikar also said, “A written defence strategy does not mean you have to follow it. It should be your guideline.” Meanwhile India’s Defence Ministry clarified that the comments were his personal opinion, and did not reflect government policy.



On November 10, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said that the US president-elect, Donald Trump, had offered mediation between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir dispute during his campaign and Pakistan had welcomed that offer.

Zakaria said that Islamabad looks forward to closely working with the new US administration. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump had said that he would like to play the role of a mediator or arbitrator between India and Pakistan. This is the first official statement by Pakistan welcoming the announcement by Donald Trump to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. The Kashmir dispute remains a constant source of tension and instability in the South Asian region.



On November 8, Pakistan’s Foreign Office summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner, J.P. Singh to launch strong protests over shelling by Indian forces on civilian population across the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary, which left six civilians dead.

According to a statement by Pakistan‟s Foreign Office, India committed 222 ceasefire violations out of which 184 have been on the LoC and 38 on the Working Boundary, resulting in the killing of 26 civilians and injuries to 107 others. The Foreign Office asked India to respect the ceasefire agreement.



On November 3, Pakistan‟s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, confirmed that eight Indian „diplomats‟ posted in Pakistan were operatives of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) involved in planning terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan.

Zakaria said that the activities of these alleged operatives included espionage, subversion and support of terrorist activities in Balochistan and Sindh, especially Karachi, sabotaging of ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor and creating unrest in Gilgit-Baltistan. The spokesman also claimed that the Indian diplomatic staff had been involved in handling Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) factions. Zakaria also said India violated diplomatic norms and the Vienna Convention by arresting Pakistani diplomatic staff member Mahmood Akhter. He said India also deliberately released the names of six other diplomats and diplomatic staff falsely accusing them and endangering their lives. Pakistan has consistently accused India of being involved in covert activities and inciting violence on its territory. Earlier on March 24, 2016, Kulbhushan Yadav, a 32 serving Indian navy officer and a senior operative of RAW, was arrested from Balochistan. He was involved in carrying out subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi.

 

OCTOBER 2016

According to PM Nawaz Sharif’s office on October 29, Pakistan’s Minister for Information, Pervaiz Rashid, was “directed to step down from his post to enable holding of an independent and detailed inquiry” of a leaked story published in Pakistani newspaper Dawn on October 6 2016.

The Prime Minister’s office said the evidence suggests a “lapse on part of the information minister” while the ISPR press statement termed the October 6, 2016 story as being “planted” and in “breach of national security”. The government also formed a committee comprising officials from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) to investigate the leak. An October 6, 2016 report in Dawn had claimed that the civilian leadership had told military authorities to act against militants or face international isolation. Pakistan’s Army termed the report as a ‘false and fabricated news story’.



On October 27, Pakistan declared Surjeet Singh, an official of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, as persona non-grata and directed him to leave the country by October 29, 2016.

According to a statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign ministry, the Indian official was “involved in activities that are in violation of the Vienna Convention”. The development comes after Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry summoned the Indian High Commissioner, Gautam Bambawale, to convey to him Islamabad’s decision to expel Surjeet Singh. The move came hours after Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi, to inform him of the decision to expel Mehmood Akhtar, a Pakistani official at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi. India accused Akhter of being involved in espionage. Pakistan has rejected the allegation.



During his October 25 meeting with Sir Mark Lyall Grant, National Security Adviser to the British Prime Minister, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stressed the need for an early resolution of the Kashmir issue for lasting peace in the region.

Sharif also informed the British security adviser about the worsening situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and called on the international community to take notice of massive human rights violations committed by Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir. He emphasised that the dispute remains the core issue between Pakistan and India and that the issue must be resolved according to UN resolutions. More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds 28 have been blinded after Indian forces resorted to the use of lethal weapons including pellet guns on demonstrators opposing Indian rule in Kashmir. Earlier on October 24, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, also called on the UN to ensure the implementation of its resolutions on Kashmir and other disputes terming it as one of the oldest disputes pending in the UN.



During his address at the summit of BRICS nations held in the Indian city of Goa on October 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a veiled reference, branded Pakistan a “mothership of terrorism”.

PM Modi also told BRICS leaders to “stand up and act decisively against state sponsors of terror” in the South Asian region. He stressed that this one country not only “shelters terrorists” but also “nurtures a mindset”. Responding strongly, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz termed Modi’s speech as misleading and a desperate attempt to hide “India’s brutalities” in Kashmir. Aziz said Pakistan joins all the members of BRICS and BIMSTEC in condemning terrorism and reaffirms its full commitment to fighting terrorism without discrimination. However, PM Modi’s attempt to use the BRICS meeting for isolating Pakistan failed to secure any consensus among BRICS leaders. In a joint statement, leaders from the BRICS nations condemned recent attacks against some of its members “including that in India.” It however, made no reference to Pakistan. While responding to PM Modi’s remarks over Pakistan, Hua Chunying, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, said that Beijing opposes linking of any country to terrorism saying Pakistan had made great sacrifices in fighting terror and the international community should recognise this effort. Political observers in India also criticised Modi’s Pakistan centric campaign at the summit and indicated that the leaders were more focused on the central agenda of economic cooperation among BRICS nations.



On October 18, referring to Indian claims of ‘surgical strikes’ across the Line of Control (LoC), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, compared the Indian military to that of Israel saying, “we used to hear about similar feats of Israeli forces but now everyone knows that the Indian Army is no less.”

Modi was addressing a gathering in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. He also said “the world has noticed Indian military capability after surgical strikes on militant bases across the LoC.” Pakistan rejected Indian claims of surgical strikes as a “fabrication of truth”. Earlier on September 29, 2016 the Indian Army killed two Pakistani soldiers in cross border firing but claimed that its forces carried out a “surgical strike” against “terrorist launch pads” across the LoC in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).



On October 14, Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, chaired a Corps Commanders Conference at General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

During the meeting, military top commanders reviewed country’s internal and external security situation with particular focus on the prevailing situation at the Line of Control and operational preparedness of the army. Pakistan’s military rejected the Indian claims of hoax surgical strikes as an attempt to divert the world’s attention away from brutalities being committed by the Indian Army against Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Army leadership also raised serious concern over October 6, 2016, Dawn report which claimed that the civilian leadership has told military authorities to act against militants or face international isolation. Army has termed report as a ‘false and fabricated news story’, and ‘a breach of national security’.



On October 7, a joint session of the parliament was concluded with the adoption of a unanimous resolution over the Kashmir issue. The resolution was moved by Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz.

The resolution strongly rejected Indian claims that occupied Kashmir is an integral part of India recalling it was a disputed territory on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council. It urged the international community to conduct an independent investigation into the human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir and urged the Indian government to immediately fulfil its commitment regarding international and humanitarian laws. The resolution reiterated Pakistan’s desire for result-oriented dialogue with India for the resolution of all outstanding disputes including that of Jammu and Kashmir. The resolution also rejected Indian accusations against Islamabad’s alleged involvement in September 18 militant attack that killed 18 Indian soldiers. Parliamentary joint sitting was convened in the wake of rising tensions in Indian occupied Kashmir. The region is witnessing one of its biggest uprising in years against Indian rule.



Dawn reported on October 12 that Pakistan is exploring the possibility of creating a greater South Asian economic alliance to counter India’s controlling hold on SAARC.

PM’s Special Envoy on Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), Senator Mushahid Hussain said, “A greater South Asia is already emerging” and “this greater South Asia will include China, Iran and the neighbouring Central Asian republics.” He added, “We want India to join this arrangement as well.” New Delhi declared its intent of boycotting the SAARC Summit that was due to be held in Pakistan citing Islamabad’s alleged involvement in cross border terrorism. Following in New Delhi’s footsteps, its regional allies Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan also decided to boycott the event. The Association’s current membership includes Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. Beijing has expressed its desire to become “a dialogue partner” or full member of the group. India, however, strongly opposes Beijing’s entry into the group fearing it would jeopardise India’s regional interests.



On October 11, Tehmina Janjua, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva said that India’s pursuit of hegemonic policies and its efforts for military domination are creating instability at the regional and global level.

Janjua was briefing the UN Committee on the Conference on Disarmament. During the debate Pakistan also questioned India for not responding to Islamabad’s proposal for the establishment of a Strategic Restraint Regime. The envoy also stressed that peace and stability in South Asia would not be possible without resolving the Kashmir issue. The Ambassador stressed that Pakistan is “a mainstream partner in the international non-proliferation regime” and called for a non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach for expanding the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s membership.



On October 12, Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif’ special envoys on Kashmir, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed and Shezra Mansab Ali, handed over the dossier on human right violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir to UN General Assembly President, Peter Thomson in New York.

The envoys appraised the UNGA president about the threats to regional peace posed by the deteriorating situation in IOK. Senator Hussain told Thompson that India has “closed all doors” to bilateral dialogue, scuttled a regional summit (SAARC) and refused to implement United Nations Security Council resolutions. Shezra Ali briefed Peter Thompson over the killings of protesters in Kashmir, and informed him about injuries caused by the use of lethal weapons by Indian forces. The meetings are part of Pakistan’s mounting diplomatic campaign to highlight Indian atrocities in Kashmir. The UNGA president has expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in Kashmir.



According to Radio Pakistan on October 9, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz said that there is little hope for improvement in Pak-India ties as long as Indian PM Narendra Modi is in power.

Aziz noted that Pakistan would continue its diplomatic efforts for improvement in ties with India. However, he made it clear that Pakistan would never compromise on its “principled stand on Kashmir.” The remarks by Sartaj Aziz come as the Modi government has been upping its antiPak rhetoric and has vowed to globally isolate the country after Pakistan said it would highlight Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir at all international fora. Analysts have warned that any threatening posture from either side would escalate tensions in an already strained Indo-Pak ties.



On October 6, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria, said that India cannot unilaterally revoke or alter the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) saying “it is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision.”

Zakaria also asked the international community to take note of Indian claims as they were a violation of New Delhi’s obligations and commitments under the treaty. Earlier on September 26, Indian PM Modi held a high level meeting in New Delhi to review the IWT with Pakistan. Reports in the Indian media also suggested that the Modi government is considering to speed up work on new hydro power plants along the three rivers that flow into Pakistan. However, experts in India has warned that the move would invite international condemnation and may prompt legal action against New Delhi.



On October 7, Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, said that India would completely seal the border with Pakistan by December 2018.

Singh said that effective means, including technological solutions, would be used to seal off the border. India frequently blames Pakistan for the cross border militant attacks on its territory. The announcement to completely seal the border with Pakistan follows growing tensions between India and Pakistan after New Delhi immediately accused Pakistan for the Uri attack on September 18. Islamabad rejected these allegations. Meanwhile, a Chinese daily, the Global Times, quoted experts as saying that the decision would be “irrational” as it would upset bilateral ties between India and Pakistan which, they said, is China’s “all-weather strategic ally” and could also complicate ties between Beijing and New Delhi.



On October 6, a spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office, strongly rejected a report published in Pakistani daily Dawn regarding “purported deliberations in a meeting on security issues.”

The spokesman termed the report as “not only speculative but also misleading and factually incorrect.” A report published in Dawn titled “Exclusive: Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military” noted that the civilian government has warned the military leadership about the country’s growing international isolation. The report also claimed that the government has conveyed it to the military leadership that military led intelligence agencies will not interfere if civilian law enforcement agencies act against militant groups or those considered “off-limits for civilian action”. The report also noted that PM Sharif has asked for renewed attempts for early conclusion in the Pathankot investigation and “restart the stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in Pakistan. Refuting the report, the PM’ spokesman said, “Pakistani intelligence agencies, particularly ISI, are working in line with the state policy”. The report was later published in most of the Indian newspapers pointing towards growing rift between the Pakistani civilian and military leadership over combatting terrorism and comes at a point when the Modi government has stepped up its efforts to declare Pakistan “a terrorist state.”



During an All Parties Conference chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in Islamabad on October 3, Pakistan’s political leadership vowed support to the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir.

The government and opposition said they are united on the “Kashmir issue” and condemned the “continued Indian aggression” along the LoC. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, informed the political leadership about the worsening situation in IOK and the LoC. According to the joint statement, the Pakistani leadership rejected Indian government’s claims that Kashmir is an integral part of India. It was also stated that the “unprovoked Indian aggression and repeated ceasefire violations pose a threat to regional peace and security. PM Sharif vowed to raise the Kashmir issue at all international fora, stressing that the Kashmir movement could not be suppressed by Indian brutalities. Criticising New Delhi’s bid to revisit the Indus Waters treaty, the statement said the proposed move was a “flagrant violation of its international treaty.” The meeting was convened amid growing hostility between Pakistan and India after the Indian Army killed two Pakistani soldiers in cross border firing. India, however, claimed that its forces had carried out “surgical strike” against “terrorist launch pads” across the LoC. Pakistan had rejected Indian claims as a “fabrication of truth”, even as opposition parties in India, particularly Congress, were also ratcheting up pressure on the Modi government to provide evidence of the September 29 “surgical strikes”.

 

SEPTEMBER 2016

According to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), on September 29, two Pakistani soldiers were killed after Indian troops fired across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

The ISPR also rejected Indian military’s claims that it had carried out “surgical strikes” against suspected militants in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK). In a related development on September 29, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry summoned Gautam Bambawale, Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, and strongly condemned the unprovoked firing across the LoC while rejecting the Indian claim of “surgical strikes”. On the same day, Ranbir Singh, India’s Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO), alleged the Indian military had conducted “surgical strikes” against “terrorist launch pads” along the LoC. Singh, however, did not provide any evidence about the strikes. Asim Bajwa, Pakistan’s military spokesman, denounced Indian army claims of a surgical strike as an “illusion” saying the incident was a “cross-border fire” and warned “if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, same will be strongly responded.” Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif also condemned the cross border firing incident and termed it “unprovoked and naked aggression of Indian forces.” He warned that Pakistan’s “intent for a peaceful neighbourhood should not be mistaken as weakness”. Several reports in the Pakistani media claimed that an Indian soldier trying to enter Pakistani territory was captured by the Pakistan army. However, there is no official confirmation of these reports yet. India has been ratcheting up pressure on Pakistan, with PM Modi’s government seeking to ‘globally isolate’ the country after Pakistan intensified its diplomatic efforts to expose human rights violations by India in Occupied Kashmir. In view of the increased threat of military escalation, China has urged Pakistan and India to resolve their differences over Kashmir while Washington has called on the nuclear armed rivals to show restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. Although the US voiced concern over cross-border terrorism, including the recent attack in Uri and pressed Islamabad to fight militant groups, it remains silent on the ongoing unrest in Indian Occupied Kashmir, maintaining that “any discussions on Kashmir is for India and Pakistan to determine”.



According to Dawn on September 29, Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership vowed to continue support for the Kashmir struggle. The development comes after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a high level meeting in Islamabad.

PM Sharif warned that Indian atrocities on Kashmiris would not be tolerated and reiterated “moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris until the issue of Kashmir is resolved.” He also 28 pointed towards Pakistan’s “unprecedented restraint” despite Indian provocation. The meeting comes in the wake of rising tensions with India and the deteriorating situation in Indian IOK.



During his address to the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on September 21, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked India to engage with Pakistan in a “serious and sustained dialogue” for resolving the Kashmir dispute saying peace and normalisation between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Sharif also called for the demilitarisation of the Jammu and Kashmir region. He demanded an independent inquiry into the extra- judicial killings by India and a UN fact-finding mission to Kashmir saying those guilty of committing atrocities should be punished. PM Sharif accused New Delhi of putting unacceptable conditions on dialogue adding that he had “gone the extra mile” to achieve peace with India. The Pakistani premier warned that the “world would ignore rising tension in South Asia at its peril”. PM Sharif said Pakistan does not indulge in an arms race with India and vowed to take “whatever measures” necessary to maintain credible deterrence against India’s “unprecedented arms build-up”. Reiterating Pakistan’s position on Kashmir, the premier said that Pakistan fully backed the struggle of the Kashmiri people for selfdetermination and demanded immediate release of all Kashmiri political prisoners, an end to the curfew, medical help for the victims and the abrogation of “India’s draconian laws” in IOK. He also stressed that Burhan Wani a “young leader murdered by Indian forces” has emerged as a symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada. On the issue of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the premier said that Pakistan is fully eligible for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Responding to Sharif’s statements in the UN, India’s UN representative, Eenam Gambhir, accused Pakistan of being a “terrorist state”. Tensions between India and Pakistan have increased in recent months with increased violent protests against Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region. New Delhi blames Islamabad of inciting violence in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan denounced what it said were “baseless and irresponsible” accusations of its involvement.



On September 21, Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif met with Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, on the sidelines of 71st session of the UNGA. During the discussions, Li said that Beijing attaches great importance to Islamabad’s position on the Kashmir issue adding that “China backs Pakistan at every forum”.

In a related development on September 24, a press release issued by Punjab Chief Minister’s Office quoting Consul General of China in Lahore, Yu Boren, noted that China had assured Pakistan of its support in the event of any foreign “aggression”. Boren also said that there is no justification for atrocities on unarmed Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir and the Kashmir dispute should be solved in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiris. The assurances by Beijing are being conveyed to Islamabad at a time when tensions between Pakistan and India have increased considerably following unrest in IOK. In the wake of September 18 militant attack on an Indian army base in Uri in IOK, the Indian military 29 has vowed to act against Pakistan which has raised concerns of a large scale conflict between the two nuclear armed rivals. Pakistan military says it is fully prepared to hit back in case of any attack on its territory.



Dawn reported on September 27 that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit scheduled to be held in November 2016 in Pakistan has been postponed after India refused to participate in the event.

In a related development on September 28, Dawn reported that Bangladesh also boycotted the SAARC Summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad. Bhutan and Afghanistan also withdrew from the Summit amid growing confrontation between India and Pakistan. The development follows Indian accusation against Pakistan of cross border attacks and September 18 Uri attack in which at least 18 Indian soldiers were killed. Responding to India’s move, Pakistan said it remains “committed to peace and regional cooperation” and accused New Delhi of perpetrating “terrorism” on its soil. The announcement by India and Bangladesh comes at a time when Indian PM Narendra Modi has vowed to ‘isolate Pakistan’. However, Nepal, as the current SAARC chair, has urged all the concerned parties to create environment for the Summit by ensuring participation of all member states.



On September 28, India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi, Abdul Basit, and presented him ‘proof’ of alleged crossborder origins of the Uri attack.

In a related development on September 28, Pakistan’s High Commissioner, Abdul Basit rejected the Indian claim of cross border infiltration saying it is necessary to establish “veracity of the Indian claim” and proposed an international investigation into the incident. Jaishankar informed Basit that the two ‘guides’ who allegedly aided the four militants to cross into Jammu and Kashmir, were now in Indian custody. Jaishankar claimed that there had been continuing cross-border terrorist attacks from Pakistan against India, and termed them as unacceptable. Basit, however, responded by saying that India had accused Pakistan of involvement even before the Uri attack was over. He said that circumstances suggest that the attack sought to malign Pakistan’s campaign to highlight India’s role in the abuse in IOK.



During her speech at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 26, Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, in a veiled reference to Pakistan, said that “countries that nurture, peddle and export terror should have no place in the comity of nations” and asked the international community to isolate such nations.

Sushma Swaraj also advised Pakistan to “abandon this dream” of having control of India-held Kashmir while calling Jammu & Kashmir an internal part of India. Swaraj, also termed the allegations against India levelled by Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, as “baseless”. Swaraj, however, stressed that Pakistan should examine the abuses being carried out in Balochistan adding that the “brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of state oppression”. In her speech, she also alleged that India did not receive an appropriate response from Pakistan and instead got a reply in the form of “Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri.” Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, in her response to Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the UNGA, rejected Swaraj’s claim about Kashmir, saying it is an “internationally recognised disputed territory and can never be an integral part of India.” According to Pakistan, India is only one of the parties to the dispute and it cannot unilaterally change the status of the dispute. Moreover, it maintains that raising Balochistan is a “blatant violation” of the principles of the UN charter and international norms.



According to The Hindu on September 26, India has decided to suspend Indus Water Commission talks until ‘Pakistan-sponsored terror’ in India ends. The development comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan.

In a related development on September 28, Dawn reported that Pakistan took its case on the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) to the World Bank, urging it to stop India from making illegal constructions on the Neelum and Chenab rivers. According to media reports, PM Modi is also considering to speed up work on new hydro power plants along three rivers that flow into Pakistan. The report also quoted PM Modi as saying that “blood and water can’t flow together”. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz warned that Pakistan would treat it as “an act of war” if India revoked the IWT. He said that international law does not permit India to unilaterally abandon the Treaty. In addition, he has warned that Pakistan will approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) if India violates the Treaty.



During a speech on September 24, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, accused Pakistan of “exporting terrorists” and vowed to mount a global campaign to isolate Pakistan.

In a related development on September 25, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria, rejected accusations levelled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying “it is unfortunate that Indian leadership continues to indulge in a well thought out vilification campaign against Pakistan by making provocative statements and baseless accusations”. This was Modi’s first speech since the Uri attack. Narendra Modi also accused Pakistan of instigating terrorist attacks inside Bangladesh and Afghanistan. He alleged that the Indian security forces have killed at least 110 terrorists in the last four months which he said crossed the cease-fire line in Kashmir from Pakistani territory. Modi warned that India would never forget the Uri attack saying the “sacrifice of our 18 jawans will not go in vain”. He also challenged Pakistan to go to war against poverty.



On September 22, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon in New York and handed over a dossier containing details of Indian atrocities against civilians in IOK.

PM Nawaz Sharif also briefed Ban Ki-moon on massive human rights violations being committed in IOK by Indian forces. Nawaz Sharif informed the UN chief that human rights violations by India in IOK have resulted in over 100 deaths and thousands of injuries. The dossier also contained photographic evidence. PM Sharif said the indiscriminate use of pellet guns, which have blinded hundreds, including women and children, proves the barbaric mindset of Indian security forces. The UN secretary general expressed shock over the photos.



On September 19, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, met with US Secretary of State, John Kerry in New York on the sidelines of 71 st session of United Nations General Assembly.

During the meeting, the two sides expressed strong concern about the violence in Kashmir, particularly the Uri attack and urged all sides to reduce tensions. According to US State Department, Secretary Kerry also advised Pakistan on the need for restraint in its nuclear weapons programme. However, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said that PM Nawaz has conveyed to the US that Pakistan would not accept a one-sided restraint on its nuclear weapons adding that any restraint should apply on both Pakistan and India. Earlier on August 12, 2016 Islamabad offered New Delhi a bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. India, however, has rejected the proposal. Meanwhile, in a separate meeting with British PM Theresa May on the sidelines of UNGA session, Sharif reiterated his demand that human rights violations should be stopped in Kashmir and that Britain needed to play a role.



Addressing the US CENTCOM Conference in Germany on September 26, Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, said that India is not willing to address historical disputes like Kashmir and accused its spy agency RAW of “exploiting” the security situation on the border with Afghanistan.

He noted that Pakistan is making “all out efforts” to eliminate terrorism and it has suffered the most due to this menace compared to any other country in the world. He emphasised that the route to a peaceful and prosperous region runs through a stable Afghanistan, which can be achieved only through comprehensive and coordinated approach.



During her visit to Islamabad on September 19, Italy’s Defence Minister, Roberta Pinotti, held talks with Pakistan’s President, Mamnoon Hussain and criticised the atrocities of Indian armed forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

President Mamnoon informed Roberta Pinotti that more than 100,000 Kashmiris had lost their lives since 1989 and 10,000 women had been raped by Indian forces. Pinotti assured Hussain that Italy would apprise the international community of the worsening situation in India-held Kashmir.



On September 16, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said that India had agreed to provide ‘material evidence’ required for taking forward the trial in Pakistan of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

The development comes after Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, in a letter to his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry, expressed India’s readiness to share material evidence on the Mumbai trials. According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office, material evidence and cross examination of prosecution witnesses is needed for further proceedings in the trial as per the law of Pakistan. Pakistan has previously blamed India for the delay in Mumbai trials saying that India’s lack of cooperation had complicated the case and weakened the prosecution. Earlier in January 2016, Pakistan asked the Indian government to send the 24 witnesses to Pakistan to testify against the seven suspects. However, according to media reports, India is reluctant to send witnesses to Pakistan for testifying against the suspects.



On September 19, Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif wrote to Heads of State of permanent UN member countries (P5), urging them to call on the Indian government to immediately stop bloodshed in Indian Occupied Kashmir and implement UNSC resolutions on Kashmir.

The development comes as Pakistan plans to “forcefully” present its position on India’s “state terrorism” in Jammu and Kashmir at the UN General Assembly in New York. In his letter, PM Sharif also highlighted human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir and termed the Kashmir dispute a constant source of tension and instability in the region and a threat to international peace and security. Whilst New Delhi only wants to discuss terrorism-related issues with Islamabad, Pakistan has made it clear to India that the Kashmir dispute would always be the top agenda whenever there are any talks between the two sides.



On September 18, at least 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack on an army base near the town of Uri in Indian Occupied Kashmir. In a related development on September 21, India summoned the Pakistani High Commissioner in India, Abdul Basit, and offered to provide him with the fingerprints and DNA samples of militants, it accused of operating from Pakistan, as proof of their role in Uri attack.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to punish those behind the ‘cowardly’ attack and held a high-level security meeting and asked the security agencies to collect all evidence that points to Pakistani involvement in the attack. Meanwhile Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, said he was disappointed with ‘Pakistan’s continued and direct support to terrorism and terrorist groups’. However, he did not provide any facts to support his claims. Nafees Zakaria, a spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry rejected allegations of Pakistani involvement saying that it is a “traditional tendency of India to point fingers at Pakistan after each terrorist attack”. India frequently accuses Pakistan of sending militants to IOK – allegations that Islamabad denies.



During the opening session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 13, the UN Human Rights chief, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, said that the continued reports of using excessive force by Indian forces against the civilian population in Jammu & Kashmir has made it crucial to establish “an independent, impartial and international mission” to assess the situation.

In a related development on September 15, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Tehmina Janjua, welcomed the remarks by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the use of excessive force by Indian authorities against the civilian population in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Terming Jammu & Kashmir as an international issue, Ambassador Janjua said that the Indian claims of restraint in Jammu & Kashmir are simply “preposterous”. Meanwhile, the top UN official, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, stressed that human rights is not exclusively a national issue while quoting the Vienna Declaration which states that “the promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community”. Following a request by the Pakistan government, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier on August 17, 2016 offered to send fact-finding missions to both Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), for probing allegations of human right violations. However, India has yet to give a formal response to the UNHCR’s offer. The Indian forces have killed over 80 anti-India demonstrators since July 8 and have used heavy-handed tactics including the use of live ammunition and pellet guns on the civilian population.



According to Dawn on September 9, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry proposed a partnership with India on nuclear safety and security. He was addressing a conference titled “Assessing South Asia`s Nuclear Security” in Islamabad.

Chaudhry also urged all regional players to use their resources for economic development instead of furthering the arms race in the region. On Pakistan’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Chaudhry reiterated that Pakistan meets requirements for membership of the group and asked the international community, particularly the US, to avoid discriminatory practices saying, “it would jeopardise regional stability.” He expressed hope that political and commercial motives would not hinder Pakistan’s membership of the NSG. Islamabad has long maintained that granting country specific exceptions would be counterproductive to global nonproliferation objectives. On Pak-India relations, he urged both countries to bolster Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to resolve their long-standing disputes. Chaudhry also suggested increased cooperation between Pakistan and India on the development of an independent nuclear regulatory framework and highlighted Pakistan’s experience in maintaining an independent nuclear regulatory body. India does not have any independent nuclear regulatory body that oversees its nuclear facilities. Pakistan formed a Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), an independent body, in 2001 for the regulation of nuclear safety, radiation protection, transport and safety in the country.



According to Dawn on September 4, several Indian political parties, including the Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI), urged the government to hold talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, including the pro-Azadi Hurriyat Conference.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti in her meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 29, 2016 called for dialogue with the Hurriyat and Pakistan to end the current unrest in IOK. At least 80 people have been killed and thousands injured in India Occupied Kashmir in clashes with security forces after the killing of Burhan Wani in a military operation on July 8, 2016.

 

AUGUST 2016

According to Dawn on August 26, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz briefed the ambassadors of permanent members of the UNSC and the EU about the human right violations being committed by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.

In a related development on August 26, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, said that Indian Foreign Secretary, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in his letter to his Pakistani counterpart, had conveyed “not just India, but the larger region is aware that Pakistan is the prime perpetrator of terrorism.” Following India’s refusal to hold talks on Kashmir, Pakistan has stepped up its diplomatic efforts towards resolving the Kashmir dispute and has urged the P5 and EU to fulfil their commitments to the people of Jammu and Kashmir under the UN Security Council resolutions. Meanwhile, PM Nawaz has nominated 22 parliamentarians as special envoys to highlight Indian atrocities and human rights abuses in Kashmir in important countries of the world. The Indian forces have killed approximately 70 people since July 8. There is also a considerable rise of pro freedom and anti-India slogans in IOK as Indian troops continue to use heavy-handed tactics including the use of live ammunition and pellet guns on the civilian population. Human rights groups say that India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which gives security forces wide ranging powers to shoot, arrest and search in IOK, has further antagonised Kashmiris.



According to Dawn on August 16, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, met Gautam Bambawale, Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, and handed him a letter addressed to Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the Indian foreign secretary, inviting him to visit Pakistan for talks on the Kashmir dispute.

In a related development on August 18, Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, Gautam Bambawale, in his meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, conveyed Indian External Affairs Secretary, Jaishankar’s willingness to visit Islamabad for the proposed meeting saying India is willing to talk to Pakistan on Kashmir, but only in the context of cross-border terrorism. Pakistan’s offer for talks comes amid growing concerns in Islamabad over a surge of violence in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Earlier on August 12, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz warned that India’s refusal to engage in a dialogue with Pakistan was not conducive for regional peace. According to the Foreign Office, both countries remain obliged to resolve the dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon has also condemned the ongoing violence in India-held Kashmir and has called for dialogue between Pakistan and India for resolving the dispute. Meanwhile, the OIC also expressed serious concern over massive human rights violations and killings in IHK after a meeting was held in Islamabad on August 20, between Iyad Madani, Secretary General, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz. Madani said that the people of Kashmir want an end to Indian occupation and called for a referendum in the disputed region saying, “it is up to Kashmiris to decide their future.”



According to Dawn on August 26, India formally rejected Pakistan’s proposal to hold talks on Kashmir and said it will only discuss the issue of terrorism and alleged infiltration of militants from the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

In a related development on August 26, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria accused India of evading dialogue on different pretexts adding that the situation in Indian-held Kashmir called for immediate talks on the dispute. Zakaria said that despite “Indian intransigence, Pakistan considers dialogue as the only option for resolution of disputes”. Earlier on August 15, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry wrote to his Indian counterpart inviting him to visit Islamabad to hold bilateral talks on Jammu and Kashmir. However, with India backtracking on engaging with Pakistan on Kashmir, any hope for dialogue between the two sides has diminished. Pakistan says India is only one of the parties to the dispute and it cannot unilaterally change the status of the dispute contradicting the right of self-determination of Kashmiris. The worsening situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir has attracted widespread international criticism coupled with exacerbated concerns in Pakistan, which has called for “an immediate end to the human rights violations against the innocent people” of J&K and for providing medical facilities to the victims.



According to Dawn on August 18, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said that Pakistan would welcome any UN mission intending to visit Azad Jammu and Kashmir, but took strong exception to equating AJK with India-Occupied Kashmir.

The development comes after the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights on August 17, 2016 offered to send fact-finding missions to both Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), for probing allegations of human right violations. Earlier on July 15, Pakistan requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a fact-finding mission to IOK to probe the violations of human rights by India.



On August 18, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said that Pakistan’s proposal to India for bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing was aimed at preventing an arms race in the region and strengthening non-proliferation credentials of countries that are not NPT signatories.

Zakaria noted that Pakistan’s offer is reflective of its policy of promoting restraint and responsibility in South Asia and its consistent support for the objectives of the CTBT. Islamabad’s renewed push for a bilateral moratorium on testing of nuclear devices comes as the two countries are seeking NSG membership. Islamabad and New Delhi had unilaterally declared that they will not conduct more nuclear tests, but according to Pakistan’s Foreign Office the unilateral moratoriums declared by the two countries are not legally binding and could be withdrawn unilaterally. The US has also welcomed Pakistan’s proposal for a nuclear non-testing arrangement with India and has encouraged both countries to sign and ratify the CTBT.



According to Dawn on August 16, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism and of human rights violations in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.



On August 16, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz, said that Indian PM Narendra Modi is trying to divert world attention from the ongoing unrest in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

PM Modi accused Pakistan saying Indians were being subjected to terrorism from an “ungrateful neighbour”. Pakistan, in a strong worded response, said that Indian PM Narendra Modi crossed the “red line” by talking about freedom of Balochistan and said it would “forcefully” raise the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly session to be held in September 2016. Meanwhile, Aziz warned that Modi’s reference to Balochistan, which is an integral part of Pakistan, only proves Pakistan’s claims that India is fomenting terrorism in 38 Balochistan. Following Modi’s remarks on Balochistan, the US State Department, Deputy Spokesperson, Mark Toner said that Washington does not support independence for Balochistan. Ties between India and Pakistan deteriorated considerably over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after 70 people were killed as a result of ongoing clashes in IOK between the demonstrators and Indian occupation forces following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by India.



On August 12, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz said, “Pakistan would invite India for a dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir dispute.” Aziz also offered India a bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.



In a related development on August 13, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, said that India welcomes dialogue with Pakistan on relevant issues including ‘Pak-supported cross-border terrorism’.

Aziz said India’s policy of not engaging in a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan was not conducive for peace in South Asia. He reiterated that Pakistan would continue to extend full diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris’ movement. Aziz also said that Pakistan is ready for an agreement with India on a bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and recalled Pakistan’s support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). However, India has always dismissed any discussion about establishing a Strategic Restraint Regime. Responding to Pakistan’s offer Swarup said that Pakistan must address issues relating to violence and cross border terrorism, parading of internationally recognised terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, and show sincere efforts on the Mumbai attack trial and the Pathankot attack investigation. Deadlock on resuming talks persists between India and Pakistan as New Delhi continues to blame Pakistan of harnessing UN-designated terrorists and inciting violence in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi only wants to discuss terrorism-related issues with Islamabad, but Pakistan insists that any talks with India must include the Kashmir issue. A surge of violence in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) has further escalated tensions between the two sides with at least 70 people killed in IOK since clashes broke out on July 8 following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani by Indian security forces.



According to Dawn on August 6, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif called upon the international community to call on India to allow Pakistan to arrange for the medical treatment of Kashmiris injured during the on-going violence in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

PM Sharif also directed the country’s Foreign Ministry to gather support from humanitarian organisations and civil society through Pakistani missions abroad to exert pressure on India to 29 allow Pakistan to help the victims of state-violence in India-held Kashmir on humanitarian grounds. According to reports, approximately 70 people have been killed and as many as 500 have been injured so far in an on-going unrest in Jammu & Kashmir.



On August 3, Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, visited Islamabad to attend the conference of Interior Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries.



Dawn reported on August 5 that the Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, left the SAARC Interior Ministers’ meeting abruptly after a war of words with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

In his address to the SAARC interior ministers’ conference, Rajnath Singh criticised Pakistan for its strong condemnation of the killing of Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces. Singh also called for “strongest action” against those who support terror. Meanwhile, referring to the on-going unrest in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK), Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, emphasised that no country should suppress freedom struggles under the ‘guise of terrorism’. He said using torture and violence against innocent civilians including children “qualifies as terrorism”. Pak-India relations hit a new low after the situation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) escalated following the killing of Burhan Wani by India. Also, the two sides did not hold any talks on the sidelines of the SAARC ministerial conference, which shows discord between Islamabad and New Delhi has intensified further. There is little evidence to suggest that the two countries will resume talks on outstanding issues anytime soon.



During an All-Party Conference held in New Delhi on August 12, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that he wants India to discuss human rights issues about Balochistan and Azad Kashmir with expatriates from these regions living in different countries.

Modi also blamed “cross-border terrorism” for the unrest in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region adding that Pakistan must also be exposed globally for atrocities in Azad Kashmir and Balochistan. Meanwhile Indian opposition leaders suggested that discussions on the disputed region should be held with all groups, including those opposed to Indian rule in the disputed region, and that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which grants special powers to the army, be lifted from civilian areas. Modi’s recent outburst against Pakistan comes in the wake of Pakistani calls for an end to what Islamabad terms ‘brutal repression against innocent civilians’ by Indian occupation forces in Jammu & Kashmir. At least 100 people have been blinded by pellets fired by Indian forces and many others have been injured in the recent clashes in the disputed region. Meanwhile, India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, informed the All Party Conference that the government had received a letter from the UN Human Rights Council, exploring the possibility of a visit to J&K (IOK). She said this was a response to Pakistan writing to the UNHRC, adding that all political parties in India reject any outside probe into the violence and allegations of human rights violations. The UNHRC letter comes days after Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif wrote to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, urging efforts to end the violation of human rights in IOK.



On August 6, India’s Foreign Secretary, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India, Abdul Basit and handed him a ‘strong demarche’ over what India claimed was Pakistan’s ‘continued support to terrorism by pushing in trained terrorists to carry out attacks, particularly in Kashmir’.

According to India’s External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup, the demarche made specific reference to LeT terrorists and Pakistan national Bahadur Ali who was apprehended recently in Jammu and Kashmir during an encounter by the Indian forces. Responding to allegations, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Islamabad was committed to not allowing the use of its territory for any militant activity against anyone. According to the demarche, Ali was allegedly arrested by Indian authorities in Jammu and Kashmir on July 25 with weapons and also sophisticated communication equipment and other material of Pakistani/international origin. Ties between the two countries are deteriorating considerably over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.



Dawn reported on August 2 that the National Assembly adopted a resolution condemning recent atrocities in India Occupied Kashmir.

The resolution called upon the government to pressurise India and the international community to stop human rights violations in the valley, repeal laws that provided legal cover for extrajudicial atrocities, release political prisoners, lift media restrictions and implement UN resolutions promising Kashmiris the right to self-determination. The lawmakers said that Pakistan would continue to extend moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiris till the achievement of their goals in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

 

JULY 2016

According to Dawn on July 31, US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said that the US encourages all sides to make efforts to find a peaceful solution of the Kashmir issue.

Expressing concerns over rising violence in India Occupied Kashmir, Kirby noted that the US wants to see the tensions de-escalated in the region. He said the US authorities are in close touch with their Indian counterparts in this regard. Widespread anti-India protests and clashes continues in the Indian-held Kashmir even as the occupied forces continue to use live ammunition and pellet guns on the demonstrators.



On July 29, Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh held a telephonic discussion with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti to discuss the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The talk came a day after Mehbooba Mufti claimed that neither she nor Indian forces were aware of Wani’s presence during the raid at his hideout on July 8 2016 in which he was killed. She said Burhan Wani would have been “given a chance” had the forces been aware of his presence during the raid. Mufti also urged New Delhi “to restart the peace process with Pakistan”. Massive protests erupted in Indian-held Kashmir since the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8, in which 47 people have died and more than 2,500 have been wounded. While senior leaders of the ruling People’s Democratic Party demanded an investigation into Wani’s killing, Pakistan has stepped up diplomatic efforts to push India to move towards resolving the Kashmir dispute based on UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that call for an UN-monitored plebiscite for Kashmiris to decide their future.



On July 20, India’s External Ministry spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, said that Pakistan should stop inciting and supporting violence and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir adding that Pakistan should refrain from meddling in India’s internal affairs.

Rejecting Indian accusations of fomenting trouble in Indian-held Kashmir, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz said that Islamabad would continue its ‘moral, political and diplomatic support’ for the independence of Kashmir and would raise the issue of human rights violations by Indian forces in the Human Rights Council. According to reports, approximately 50 people have been killed so far as Indian security forces use massive force to repress the protests following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani. 



During his visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on July 22, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said “Pakistan is waiting for the day Kashmir becomes its part”. In a related development on July 23, India’s Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj saidthat Pakistan’s “dream of making Kashmir its part will never come true”.

Sharif also urged Kashmiris “not to forget those in Kashmir who are sacrificing their lives for their movement for freedom”. Reacting on Sharif’s statement, Swaraj said that Pakistan would never be able to make Kashmir a ‘haven for terrorists’. Swaraj also accused Pakistan of backing UN designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed. Swaraj’s statements were met witha quick response by the Pakistani Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz who said that the future of Kashmir could only be decided by the “people of the region, not by the Indian External Minister”. Kashmir issue remain sa major hurdle in the bilateral relations between two countries with Pakistan holding firm on its stance that a ‘free and impartial plebiscite’ in Jammu and Kashmir under UN auspices is the only way to resolve the Kashmir dispute.



On July 22, PM Nawaz Sharif chaired a high-level meeting of the National Security Council in Islamabad to discuss regional security, particularly the ongoing situation in Indian occupied Kashmir(IOK).

The meeting was also attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif. PM Sharif reiterated that the only solution to the Kashmir issue was “a fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices”. The meeting also condemned what it termed “the continuing brutal oppression of the Indian security forces” on Kashmiris. The meeting urged the international community to condemn human rights violations by Indian security forces. The Pakistan government has been mounting pressure on the international community for diplomatic support for the Kashmiris after clashes continue to intensify in the region following the death of Burhan Wani.



NDTV reported on July 20 that the Indian Air Force (IAF) was minutes away from launching a full-fledged air attack deep inside Pakistan on June 13, 1999 during the Kargil war.

According to the report, negotiations between Jaswant Singh, then Indian Foreign Minister and Pakistan’s foreign minister, Sartaj Aziz reached an impasse in 1999 over the Kargil issue after Pakistan was asked to withdraw its forces from Kargil, renounce demand for redrawing the Line of Control in Kashmir and urgently restore the status-quo by accepting the Line of Control. The report added that during that time the Indian Air Force had an advantage over Pakistan’s Air Force as it was armed with better weapons. According to the report, however, the reasons for India’s decision not to attack Pakistan remain a secret. The Kargil war between the two nuclear armed rivals, India and Pakistan ended in July 1999 after PM Nawaz Sharif called upon Pakistani troops to withdraw.



On July 13, UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said that the UN is willing to mediate between Pakistan and India over Kashmir if the two sides request such assistance.



On July 12, the US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, urged all sides to the Kashmir dispute to make efforts for finding a peaceful resolution.

In a related development on July 14, Pakistan’s Foreign Office, spokesman, Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan welcomes UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon’s offer to mediate Pak-India peace talks amid heightening tensions between the two countries. The development came after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani and many others in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK) evoking massive protests in the region. Nafees Zakaria said that the UN should play its role to implement UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir. He also warned that Jammu and Kashmir is not an internal matter of India, adding that it is a ‘recognised issue under the UN’. Earlier on July 11, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman, Vikas Swarup asked Islamabad to refrain from issuing statements on the Kashmir unrest, adding that Pakistan should stop interfering in the “internal affairs of its neighbours”.



On July 13, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, raised the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly and called for implementation of Security Council resolutions for resolving the Kashmir dispute.

In a related development on July 14, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said that the Indian security forces are indulging in state terrorism in IOK. Lodhi said that the occupation forces have resorted to brutal acts to suppress the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people as committee to by the UNSC resolutions. She stressed that the denial of self-determination to the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir has resulted in some of the most atrocious human rights violations. She said fulfilment of the UN pledge to conduct plebiscite is the only way to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Meanwhile, responding to Pakistan’s statement, India’s Envoy at the UN, Syed Akbaruddin accused Pakistan of supporting terrorism, adding it ‘covets the territory’ of other countries. Indian forces regularly use what many observers see as heavy-handed tactics in Indian-occupied Kashmir to supress the protests.



On July 8, Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter by the Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).



On July 11, Pakistan summoned the Indian High Commissioner, Gautam Bambawale, and expressed its concerns over the killing of Burhan Wani and other Kashmiri protestors in Indian-occupied Kashmir.



According to Dawn on July 12, 32 people were killed after clashes erupted in IOK between the Indian security forces and demonstrators following the death of Burhan Wani.

Pakistan termed the killings “deplorable and condemnable” and asked India to observe its human rights obligations, and its commitments under UNSC resolutions. Pakistan also called for a ‘fair and transparent’ inquiry against individuals responsible for these killings. New Delhi dismissed Islamabad’s concerns by calling it an ‘interference in India’s internal affairs’. Indian occupation forces used massive force to repress the protests that took place after the killing of Wani. According to analysts, further escalation is feared in IOK as anti-India sentiments continue to rise in the region.



On July 12, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, called on the world community and particularly the five permanent (P5) members of the UN Security Council to take note of the aggravating human rights situation.

In a related development on July 13, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry briefed the Islamabad-based ambassadors of the P5 members on the situation in India Occupied Kashmir. Chaudhry also conveyed Pakistan’s concern over the brutal killings of innocent civilians and violation of their fundamental human rights by Indian security forces. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told the envoys of the P5 members of the Security Council that the killing of innocent Kashmiri people could not be condoned under the pretext of terrorism. The Pakistan government has been mounting pressure on the international community for diplomatic support for the Kashmiris after clashes continue to intensify in the region following the death of Burhan Wani. Pakistan has termed Wani’s killing as extra judicial killing by the Indian occupation forces.



Dawn reported on July 11 that the trial of seven Pakistani suspects in the Mumbai attacks case remains at a standstill due to a row between the governments of Pakistan and India over the testimony of 24 Indian witnesses.

In January 2016, the Pakistani government had asked Indian authorities to send the 24 witnesses to Pakistan to testify against the suspects. However, India has yet to respond to requests made by Pakistan for summoning 24 witnesses. The alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, along with other suspects is being tried in Pakistani courts since 2009. Pakistani authorities arrested seven Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) members accused of being involved in the Mumbai attacks.



On July 1, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement issued on the biannual exchange of list of prisoners that New Delhi is ready to work with Pakistan on humanitarian issues related to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s jails.

The lists are exchanged twice a year, under a bilateral 2008 agreement through which both countries inform each other about their nationals which are held in their jails. According to Dawn on July 1, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, Vikas Swarup, said that India is not prepared to discuss all outstanding issues with Pakistan till Islamabad finishes its probe into the Pathankot airbase attack. The statement is followed by Pakistani Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz remarks in which he noted that New Delhi wants normalisation on its own terms which is not acceptable to Islamabad. There are concerns that the rift between New Delhi and Islamabad could further deepen as the two countries struggle to break deadlock on talks.

JUNE 2016

On June 29, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz, said that India is avoiding dialogue with Pakistan because issues such as Kashmir would have to be negotiated.

Aziz said Pakistan had plans for extensive talks with India on issues such as Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and economic cooperation, amongst others. India insists that bilateral talks should focus on terrorism while Pakistan maintains that any dialogue should be without conditions and include the Kashmir dispute. The remarks were followed by Indian PM Modi’s speech in which he blamed Pakistan for the stalled talks.



During a foreign policy briefing to journalists on June 27, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz said there is not much hope for normalisation of ties with India or progress in the Afghan reconciliation process.

Aziz said that New Delhi wants normalisation on its own terms which is not acceptable to Islamabad. Stating that his country would not back from its principle stance on talks with India, he said that Pakistan has been insisting that talks should be held on the entire range of eight issues identified for bilateral dialogue. India, however, wants an exclusive focus on terrorism. There are concerns that the rift between New Delhi and Islamabad could further deepen as the two countries struggle to break deadlock on talks. On Afghan peace efforts, Aziz emphasised that elimination of Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a May 23, 2016 US drone strike derailed the peace dialogue. He said that the Afghan Taliban had not given any indication as yet to join the peace process. Earlier, on June 19, the adviser also stated that Pakistan cannot fight “Afghanistan’s war on its own soil”.



During a televised interview on June 27, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, claimed that there are “different types of forces operating in Pakistan.”

He added that if one has to draw redlines or set conditions for dialogue, would it be “with the elected government or other actors?” Modi said India wants friendly ties with Pakistan but “without compromising” its own interests. He said that the country’s armed forces have “full freedom to answer back” in whatever manner they have to. Modi also said that the world has acknowledged India’s position on terrorism adding that Pakistan is finding it hard to respond on the matter. Modi’s latest outburst against Pakistan comes at a point, when the two countries are struggling to resume talks. Modi has upped his anti-Pak rhetoric in recent months and has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for spreading terrorism in the region.



On June 25, at least eight Indian paramilitary soldiers and two suspected militants were killed in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) when a group of armed men ambushed Indian forces.

Militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba claimed responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh blamed Pakistan for the killings. India regularly blames Pakistan for sending armed militants to launch attacks in IOK. Islamabad denies the allegations, saying it only provides diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for their right to self-determination.



Dawn reported on June 22, that Pakistan scored a legal victory in London with the British High Court ruling in its favour in a case concerning the ownership of £35 million of funds claimed by Pakistan, India and various offsprings’ of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad.

In a related development on June 23, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the ruling was “a clear vindication of Pakistan’s principled stance”. India maintains that Pakistani claim to the £35 million is not valid. However, The British High Court judge Henderson J noted that there was good evidence in support of Pakistan’s claim to the funds. The judge also accepted that there are good legal arguments, which support Pakistan’s position. India had challenged £35 million lying in a bank account in the name of the High Commissioner of Pakistan, since 20th September 1948. The money was transferred from Nizam-e-Hyderabad for Pakistan before capture of his state by India.



On June 21, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Olson, said that Pakistan’s concerns over India’s role in Afghanistan were ‘overestimated’, while urging Pakistan to focus its attention on fighting terrorists.

Olson said India has remained a ‘supportive partner for Afghanistan’ adding that it is providing a limited amount but important military assistance to Afghanistan. Noting that Pakistan has its own security concerns, Olson warned that Pakistan will not be secure, until it moves against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. Olson emphasised that the ongoing military operations in Waziristan had reduced militancy inside Pakistan, but criticised Islamabad for its reluctance to take strong action against terrorist networks that carry out attacks outside its territory. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesman dismissed Olson’s criticism saying Pakistan’s concerns over Indian influence in Afghanistan “are legitimate”. The US views India as a counterweight to a rising China and continues to encourage India’s increasing involvement in the region and in Afghanistan which is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.



On June 19, India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said that India does not object to any country including Pakistan, joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on merit.

Swaraj also said that China is not opposed to India’s membership of the NSG. Meanwhile in a statement on June 20, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying contradicted Sushma Swaraj arguing that the inclusion of non-NPT members has never been a topic on the agenda of NSG meetings. India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support for its membership. However, China, along with some other countries, has opposed 35 India’s membership, arguing that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Pakistan, which is also seeking NSG membership, insists that it has taken numerous steps, qualifying it for joining the NSG. Islamabad has long maintained that granting country-specific exceptions would adversely affect the non-proliferation regime and regional strategic stability.



On June 13, Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz, informed the Senate that the government has been successful in blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) adding that India would not be able to join the group alone.

In a related development on June 12, Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan has “stronger credentials” than India for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The adviser also said that Pakistan has diplomatically engaged numerous countries over the ‘criteria-based approach’ for countries seeking NSG membership that are not signatories to the 28 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Pakistan has long argued that any discriminatory approach would undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The country says its nuclear trade controls are in line with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and multilateral export control regimes and continue to press for access to civil nuclear energy to meets its future energy requirements.



On June 11, US Statement Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said that Pakistan and India need to pursue closer relations with each other on the security front, adding better ties between the two neighbours would benefit the entire region.

The remarks came in the wake of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June 8 speech to the US Congress where he said deeper US-Indian security cooperation should isolate anyone who supports terrorism that is “incubated in India’s neighbourhood.” Modi, however, avoided naming Pakistan. Agreeing with PM Modi’s views on terrorism, Toner said there was a need to work in a ‘concerted manner’ to address the issue. While US continues to press the nuclear-armed rivals for increased security cooperation between them, there are apprehensions in Islamabad over US-Indo strengthening defence ties as it is feared these would tip the balance of power in India’s favour.



On June 8, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi addressed the joint sitting of the US Congress.

In his address, PM Modi applauded the strength of the US-India partnership, especially in defence while describing the US as an “indispensable partner” and adding that a strong India is in the US’ strategic interest. On terrorism, PM Modi said that this scourge was “incubated in India’s neighbourhood” and called for greater US-India counterterrorism cooperation and “greater isolation for those who harbour, support and sponsor terrorists”. Although he did not named any country, his remarks were seen as a direct reference to Pakistan. He also praised the Congress for “refusing to reward” those who preach and practice terrorism. Modi was hinting at a recently blocked proposed, US-subsidised sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. PM Modi’s anti-Pakistan rhetoric at Capitol Hill comes at a point when relations between Islamabad and Washington are at an all time low.



On June 7, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with US President Barack Obama in Washington DC. After the meeting, US President Barack Obama announced that his country was supporting India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

It was also agreed that an American company would build six nuclear reactors in India as the US termed India a “major defence partner”, at par with America’s closest allies, for defence-related trade and technology transfers. The two leaders also urged Pakistan to ‘bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice’. They also pledged to boost cooperation against extremist groups such as Al-Qaida, Daesh, Jaish-e- Mohammad (JeM), Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) and D Company. India and the US also finalised the text of a defence logistics agreement to make it easier for their militaries to operate together. The warming ties come as the US seeks to forge better relations with its allies in Asia. India remains critical in securing US interests in the region, particularly confronting a rising China. The growing strategic partnership between the two countries have also evoked concerns in Islamabad as commentators in Pakistan view US actions in the region as a cause for regional imbalance.



On June 5, Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz, said that India never opened a window of opportunity for dialogue and goodwill with Pakistan as all the development in this regard were sabotaged when the foreign secretary level talks between the two countries were postponed after the Pathankot attack.

The remark comes after Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that a window for dialogue with Pakistan is slowly closing. The adviser stressed that while India continues to press ‘old allegations’ of terrorism against Pakistan, it must recall that terrorism is a part of the composite dialogue process which was proposed by Pakistan. Aziz also warned that Pakistan is aware of Indian efforts to integrate Kashmir and alter its demography. The dialogue process between the two countries was stalled after India linked the resumption of the dialogue with the Pathankot investigation. Earlier on June 2, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Sharad Kumar said there was no evidence to suggest Pakistan government’s involvement in the Pathankot attack.

 

MAY 2016

According to Dawn on May 15, an official of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) said that Indian moves towards ‘second strike capability’ would compel Pakistan to follow suit.

The official also pointed towards India’s acquisition of military hardware for operationalising its Cold Start Doctrine, building a variety of nuclear capable missiles ranging from tactical weapons to inter-continental ballistic missiles and enabling of its nuclear triad of forces including nuclear submarines. He cautioned that these developments would destabilise nuclear stability. Earlier in April, 2016 India claimed successful testing of nuclear-capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) from its nuclear-powered INS Arihant. The development triggered concerns in the region while Pakistan’s Foreign Office warned that the move would impact the strategic balance of the region.



According to Dawn on May 18, Pakistan expressed its ‘serious concern’ to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General and the President of the UN Security Council (UNSC) about efforts by the Modi government to pass into law the controversial Geospatial Information Regulation Bill aimed at restricting geographical depictions of India and disputed Kashmir to those that are government-approved.

The letter called upon the UN to uphold UNSC resolutions and urge India to stop such acts, which are in violation of international law. According to the proposed bill, the Indian government could penalise individuals and organisations depicting Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory. Pakistan says that a map showing disputed Kashmir as part of Indian territory is “factually incorrect and legally untenable”.



On May 18, Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan, Gautam Bambawale said that Pakistan-India talks must be held on all issues, including Kashmir, and said India is ready to go ahead with talks.

In a related development on May 19, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria said that sincerity was critical for normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India. Gautam Bambawale said that all issues would be addressed upon the resumption of the dialogue process between the two countries. He also expressed his country’s willingness to expand trade with Pakistan. In December 2015, India and Pakistan agreed on a comprehensive bilateral dialogue (CBD), however, the dialogue ended following the Pathankot airbase attack. The 35 resumption of dialogue was delayed further following the arrest of senior Indian spy operative, Kulbushan Yadhav, from Balochistan, which evoked a strong reaction from Islamabad.



On May 19, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser, Sartaj Aziz, informed the Senate that Pakistan is considering a proposal for tabling a resolution in the UN declaring the Indian Ocean a nuclear-free zone.

The statement came days after India tested nuclear-capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) from its nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant as part of its efforts to develop second-strike capability. Aziz vowed to raise the issue with all major powers ‘bilaterally and multilaterally’. Earlier, on May 15, India also tested its Advanced Air Defence Missile Ashwin for its upcoming multi-layered ballistic missile defence system. Aziz said these two developments are part of the massive conventional, nuclear and missile development programmes being pursued by India, which are now leading to nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean and would affect the maritime security of all the 32 littoral states in the Indian Ocean. The adviser also recalled that Pakistan had in the past offered discussions on an anti-ballistic missile-free zone in South Asia under nuclear confidence-building measures but regretted that India has not responded positively. There are concerns in Pakistan that these developments are poised to trigger serious security implications for the region and beyond and will tilt the balance of power in India’s favour. Security experts in Pakistan have also criticised the US for its muted response vis-à-vis Indian missile development even as Washington has been pressing Pakistan to avoid developments in its nuclear weapons programme.



During a debate on peace and security in the General Assembly on May 13, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, said that the UN’s credibility was at stake because of its inability to implement its own resolutions on Kashmir and Palestine.

Lodhi warned that the UN would be seen as practising double standards if it continues to ignore military aggression or foreign interventions. She said that the world would view the UN as a political tool in the hands of a few powerful states if it found no credible solutions to these issues. Pakistan has repeatedly raised the issue of Kashmir at the UN, as Kashmir remains an internationally recognised dispute. However, India has refused to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions.



On May 2, Director General of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), Sharad Kumar, said there is no evidence so far to indicate direct complicity of government of Pakistan or Pakistani agencies in the Pathankot attack.

In a related development on May 2, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the DG NIA’s statement had vindicated Pakistan’s longstanding position in the context of Pathankot. Kumar also revealed that the investigation has not found any inside hand in the attack. However, he accused Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and its chief Masood Azhar for carrying out the attack. He stressed that evidence against Masood Azhar and his brother Rauf Azhar is sufficient to file a charge sheet. He further disclosed that India had concluded the investigation regarding Pathankot attack and is now waiting for Pakistan’s permission to allow its investigation team to visit Pakistan. The January 2, 2016 attack escalated tensions between Pakistan and India after both countries had decided to restart their bilateral dialogue. Following the Pathankot attack, Pakistan launched a crackdown against JeM and formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that visited the Pathankot airbase in March 2016 to probe the involvement of JeM in the attack.

 

APRIL 2016

On April 26, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, held talks with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in New Delhi on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference.

On April 27, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry said that there was no breakthrough in talks with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar but the interaction on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference was ‘positive’. Despite the festive mood in New Delhi, Pakistan reiterated that Kashmir remains the core issue requiring a just solution, in accordance with UNSC resolutions. Pakistan conveyed its concern to India over the captured Indian spy, Kulbushan Yadhav, a senior Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) operative, and expressed serious concern over India’s involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi. Chaudhry also conveyed Pakistan’s concern over efforts by the Indian authorities for the release of the prime suspects of the Samjhauta Express blasts of 2007 in which 42 Pakistanis lost their lives. Meanwhile, India’s Foreign Secretary urged Islamabad to make progress on the Pathankot attack probe as well as the Mumbai case trial. India also demanded that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader, Masood Azhar’s name to be included in the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee’s list. Jaishankar also stressed that Pakistan should not ignore the impact of terrorism on their bilateral relationship adding that terrorist groups based in Pakistan must not be allowed to operate with impunity, allegations which Islamabad strongly denies. Both sides, however, stressed the need to continue bilateral dialogue. The meeting will help ease the ties between the two countries even though the talks failed to achieve any major breakthrough on issues between the two. In December 2015, India and Pakistan had agreed on restarting the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) during the previous Heart of Asia ministerial meeting held in Islamabad. However, the dialogue suffered a serious blow following an attack on an Indian airbase in Pathankot in January 2016.



According to Dawn on April 23, scores of Pakistani Americans protested outside the Indian Embassy, demanding an end to Indian intervention in Balochistan.

The protesters expressed concerns over India’s role in encouraging separatist elements in Pakistan and urged the US government to use its influence to stop this intervention. The protests are held in the wake of captured Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav from Balochistan who the Pakistani authorities claim remained involved in fomenting terrorism and separatism in the country.



On April 21, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria said that India’s test of the nuclear-propelled submarine was a “serious development” resulting in the “nuclearisation of Indian Ocean” adding that such events are a “worrisome development” for both the region and the international community.

Earlier on April 9, India test-fired an intermediate-range nuclear-capable submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The spokesman also pointed out that India failed to notify Pakistan about the ballistic missile test conducted by the submarine notwithstanding the agreement on pre-notification of test launch of ballistic missiles. India’s pursuit of nuclearising the Indian Ocean is a worrisome development for both Pakistan and China forcing them to react accordingly.



On April 18, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called upon India to implement the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir and expressed concern at the indiscriminate use of force and massive human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) by Indian security forces.

Human rights violations remains a major concern in Jammu and Kashmir with Indian security forces accused of massive killings, abductions, torture, sexual violence and enforced disappearances in the disputed region. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people have been 34 killed thus far in IOK attracting international condemnation. Moreover, the dispute remains a major stumbling block in India-Pakistan relations.



On April 17, Times of India reported that the Indian government has proposed to simplify procedures for grant of Indian citizenship to Hindus from Pakistan.

In 2015, India said that Bangladeshis and Pakistanis belonging to minority communities, who had entered India legally before December 31, 2014, could stay in the country, even after the expiry of their documents. The proposal if approved will enable minority communities of Pakistan staying in India to buy property, open bank accounts and obtain a permanent account number in India.



On April 14, Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria rejected the notion that the peace process between Pakistan and India had been suspended, saying the Foreign Office remains engaged with Delhi.

The statement comes following speculations in the media that the Indo-Pak dialogue process has come to a standstill. Earlier this month, Pakistani High Commissioner in India, Abdul Basit, also stated that the peace process between the two countries was ‘suspended’. The dialogue however met a serious blow after a series of incidents including the Pathankot attack and the arrest of RAW’s senior operative Kulbushan Yadav from Pakistan. Since then the two countries have not been able to reschedule foreign secretaries’ talks.



On April 13, Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) briefed the Senate’s defence panel about the Indian intelligence agency, RAW’s, network aiming to carry out espionage and subversive activities against Pakistan.

Earlier on April 12, Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif also warned that hostile intelligence agencies, including the Indian spy agency, RAW are trying to destabilise Pakistan. General Sharif also said that India has openly challenged the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Meanwhile, briefing the defence committee, Secretary Defence, Alam Khattak disclosed that RAW has established an office within the Afghan intelligence agency’s headquarters in Kabul as well as seven offices and stations along the Pak-Afghan border. The officials also claimed that RAW has been providing money, training, arms and fake identity cards to militants operating in different parts of Pakistan. Concerns are rising within Pakistan’s security establishment over the increased presence of foreign spies operating in the country, especially after the arrests of Indian and Afghan spy operatives from Balochistan where work on the CPEC project is underway.



On April 13, at least four people, including a woman, were killed and several others were injured in the firing of Indian troops on a protest demonstration in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

In a related development on April 15, Pakistan expressed ‘deep concern’ over the Indian security forces’ crackdown on protesters in Indian occupied Kashmir. Protests in IOK broke out following reports of a girl’s molestation by an Indian soldier that ignited massive demonstration against Indian troops. Meanwhile Indian forces opened fire at the protestors.



On April 12, Austrian prosecutors said they were probing a possible link between a Pakistani held in Salzburg in connection with the November 2015 terrorist assaults in Paris and the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.

However, the identity of the suspect has not been confirmed as yet. The suspect was arrested in Austria in December 2015 along with an Algerian citizen.



On April 9, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Jalil Abbas Jilani said a major priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to transform its relations with the country’s closest neighbours, Afghanistan and India.

He was speaking at the ‘South Asia conference’ held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Jilani highlighted that the government had developed a national consensus against extremism and terrorism, as part of its National Action Plan (NAP). The comments come at a time when concerns are high in South Asia about unresolved disputes, especially between India and Pakistan.



On April 7, Foreign Office spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said that Pakistan is ready to work with India to prevent an arms race in the region. He said, “Pakistan’s proposal for Strategic Restraint Regime can provide a basis for mutually agreed restraint measures and avoidance of an unnecessary arms race in the region”.

The spokesman also reiterated concerns over India’s rapid military build-up and said that India is expanding both conventional and nuclear capabilities and also offensive military doctrines such as the “Cold Start.” Earlier on April 1, while addressing the final Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama listed South Asia as a region, requiring most attention to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. President Obama also urged restraint on India and Pakistan’s nuclear programmes. Pakistan has made repeated calls since 1998 for establishing a Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia whereas India has rejected any negotiations on the matter. Security experts in Pakistan say India’s growing conventional and nuclear arsenal remain a worrisome development disturbing the South Asian strategic balance.



On April 7, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit described the current state of the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan as effectively suspended.

He termed the Kashmir dispute the root cause of mutual distrust between Pakistan and India. The Pakistani High Commissioner also stated that the arrest of the Indian RAW agent was a confirmation of Pakistan’s stance and suspicions.



On April 5, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that Pakistani investigators who visited India for the Pathankot attack probe received limited cooperation from Indian authorities.

It said in a statement that no conclusions had been reached in the ongoing investigations. Following the return of five-member Pakistani JIT, which visited India from March 27 to April 1, to investigate and collect evidence of the attackers, Pakistan stressed that the team was denied access to primary witnesses by the Indian authorities. However, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) insists it provided all the evidence required by the JIT including the DNA of four terrorists as well as call records of the attackers. The relations between Pakistan and India remain on the edge as the two countries failed to achieve any progress in the ongoing Pathankot investigation.



On April 5, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor (NSA), Nasir Janjua said that Pakistan and India, being nuclear-armed countries, could not afford hostility for a long duration and would have to invest in peace for regional progress.

Highlighting India’s increased military spending and growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, Janjua said the developments remain a threat to both Pakistan and regional peace. Janjua also stated that Pakistan has enhanced its strategic capabilities and maintains a minimum credible deterrence for peaceful co-existence and balance of power in the region. The comments came in the wake of a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) which noted that India aims to increase its military spending by 8% in 2016.



On April 4, Mehbooba Mufti, the leader of pro-India Peoples’ Democratic Party was sworn in as the new chief minister of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) following the death of her father, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

During the 2014 state elections, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (PDP) formed the government with the BJP after lengthy negotiations. However, following the death of Mufti Sayeed, the BJP and PDP failed to reach an understanding on forming an alliance again. Mehbooba had earlier asked the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to take confidence building measures before government formation. The PDP has been pressing NDA to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and also get the Army to vacate occupied land.



On April 1, US President Barack Obama urged India and Pakistan not to continue moving in the wrong direction as they develop their military doctrines.

President Obama identified various regions including South Asia which needs attention for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. President Obama also expressed concern over a rapid increase in tactical or small nuclear weapons in an apparent reference to Pakistan’s tactical nuclear programme. Pakistan says its tactical weapons are necessary for maintaining full spectrum deterrence. Unsettled disputes remain a dangerous source of tension between India and Pakistan with Kashmir often being described as a potential nuclear flashpoint. Conflict resolution therefore is necessary.

 

MARCH 2016

On March 29, DG National Investigation Agency (NIA), Sharad Kumar, said that the NIA would seek formal access of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, a prime suspect in the January 2016 terror attack on an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.

The NIA statement came as the Pakistani Investigating team arrived in India to probe the Pathankot incident. India blames Masood Azhar for masterminding the Pathankot attack. Media reports also suggest that Pakistani investigating team has also been asked to provide voice 33 sample of Masood Azhar. Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities have sought cooperation with India in the Pathankot investigation and arrested several JeM members.



On March 27, a five-member Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) arrived in India to investigate the Pathankot attack. In a related development on March 30, Pakistan’s Joint Investigating Team (JIT) investigating the Pathankot airbase attack in India informed Indian officials that it has yet to find evidence to link Maulana Masood Azhar to the Pathankot terror attack.

Indian authorities have also demanded voice samples of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar. The JIT shared details with the Indian investigators about those detained in Pakistan over their alleged connections to the Pathankot attack. On their visit to National Investigation Agency (NIA) in New Delhi, Pakistani investigators also recorded the statements of Pathankot attack eyewitnesses. However, the Pakistani team has been granted limited access to the attack site. Analysts say the limitations placed by the Indian authorities could hinder the investigation process.



On March 23, President Mamnoon Hussain said that Kashmir is the “jugular vein of Pakistan” and that Pakistan would continue efforts for the peaceful resolution of the longstanding dispute. Pakistan demands an internationally monitored plebiscite in Kashmir in accordance with UNSC resolutions. Policymakers in Pakistan have also urged India to uphold its commitment to a plebiscite.



On March 17, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz held talks with Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, on the sidelines of the SAARC ministerial meeting in Nepal.

Following the meeting, Sushma Swaraj announced that Pakistani investigation team will visit India to carry out inquiries over the Pathankot attack on March 27, 2016. Sartaj Aziz also extended a formal invitation on behalf of PM Nawaz Sharif for PM Narendra Modi to attend the 19th SAARC summit which is due to be held in November 2016 in Islamabad. Media reports also suggest that the two sides also held deliberations over arrests made by Pakistan in connection with the Pathankot airbase attack where seven Indian security personnel were killed. Although the meeting between the two sides is a positive development, however, the foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries are yet to be rescheduled.



On March 13, Press Trust of India reported that Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops have been spotted at forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) on the Pakistani side of Kashmir.

Media reports suggest that the presence of PLA officials in Kashmir comes in the wake of Pak-China multi-billion dollars project under CPEC. India has expressed alarm over the presence of PLA troops alongside the Line of Control (LOC). Pakistan has established three new brigades to protect the routes of th CPEC. It was also previously reported that Pakistan has deployed a total of 17,177 security personnel to protect Chinese nationals working on the economic corridor.



On March 9, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that the use of veto in the UN Security Council had prevented a resolution of the longstanding dispute of Kashmir and hindered implementation of UN resolutions on the issue.

Ambassador Lodhi’s comments came during an inter-governmental negotiation process on Security Council reform. Maleeha Lodhi reiterated Pakistan’s opposition to adding new permanent members to the UNSC with or without a veto power. Pakistan has made it clear that it only supports the increase in non-permanent category in the Security Council. Meanwhile, India has been actively seeking permanent membership of the UNSC and maintains that the veto should be extended to new permanent members. The UNSC reforms can only be carried out if two-thirds of UN member states vote in favour. However, Pakistan as part of a “Uniting for Consensus” group (UfC), has opposed India’s inclusion in the UNSC’s list of permanent members and insists that meaningful reforms of the Security Council can only be achieved through consensus among all member states.



On March 6, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser, Naseer Janjua, called his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval and provided him with an intelligence input that 10 terrorists had entered the Indian state of Gujrat for a possible terror attack.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar also confirmed the news saying that 10 to 15 people have crossed the border. However, Chaudhry Nisar also stressed that such activities were being carried out by ‘non-state actors’ but Pakistan was being held responsible. The move is seen as a goodwill gesture on the part of Islamabad at a time when the two countries are hoping to meet for Foreign Secretary-level talks, which were suspended after the attack on the Pathankot Air Force base.



On March 1, Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, told the Indian parliament that the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase in January 2016 was carried out by non-state actors from across the border who operate with support of the Pakistani establishment.

Manohar Parrikar also said that no non-state actor from Pakistan can ‘function smoothly without the state’s support’. Indian government had blamed militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) for the assault on Pathankot air base. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Office has pledged full cooperation with India on the Pathankot investigation. The authorities in Pakistan have also registered a case in connection with the Pathankot assault. Manohar Parrikar is often criticised for making controversial and provocative statements. Earlier in June 2015, Manohar Parrikar said that India would use terrorism to counter terrorism, which drew strong criticism from within and outside India.

FEBRUARY 2016

On February 29, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that the US maintains close ties with both Pakistan and India because that helps reduce tensions between South Asia’s two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Secretary Kerry also confirmed reports, which suggested that the US had been encouraging the prime ministers of Pakistan and India to engage in bilateral talks. Experts suggest that Washington should pursue a balanced US policy toward both countries. Some commentators argue that despite US’ close embrace of India, Washington will not ignore Islamabad at this point as Islamabad, along with other powers, is trying to get the Afghan peace process back on track.



On February 26, US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said that terrorism is a threat to both Pakistan and India and their cooperation in fighting the menace is helpful to the region.

The US government has recently pushed both India and Pakistan to bring normalcy in their relationship. Moreover, US has previously also warned that the terrorist groups might try to spoil the Indo-Pak peace process. Observers say the challenge will now be not to let a single incident derail the dialogue process between the two countries.



On February 26, India’s Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, ruled out withdrawal of army personnel from Siachen Glacier and said Pakistan might occupy the strategic area if India vacated it.

According to data presented in the Lok Sabha, 869 Indian troops died serving at the Siachen Glacier between 1984 and December 2015. Earlier, on February 25, Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit said that these tragedies only reinforce the need to resolve the issue urgently and through peaceful means. The high monetary and human costs of deployment have prompted calls for the demilitarisation of the Siachen region.



On February 23, Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee during his address to a joint sitting of the parliament said that the Indian government is committed to forging a “mutually respectful relationship” with Pakistan.

President Mukherjee also said that terrorism is a global threat and strong counter-terrorism measures are necessary worldwide to eradicate it. Meanwhile, commentators argue that while the volatile atmosphere in South Asia poses a special challenge to Indo-Pak relations, there is a 34 need to have meaningful dialogue covering all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.



On February 25, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said it would again move the United Nations for sanctions against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.

India blames Masood Azhar as one of the masterminds of the Pathankot attack. India’s earlier attempts at the UN to seek sanctions on Masood Azhar were blocked by China. In 2010, India’s request to impose sanctions on Masood was put on “technical hold” by China saying that the information provided by India was not sufficient enough to establish Azhar’s involvement in terrorism.



On February 18, Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, accused Pakistan of ‘pretending to sleep’ and not being serious about the probe into the Pathankot airbase terror attack.

Pakistani authorities insist that the evidence provided by India which included intercepts of telephone calls as the only evidence were “unregistered and had fake identities”. The authorities in Pakistan have also sought more information from the Indian government regarding the January 2 attack as the security officials insist that no further leads were found from the evidence provided by Indian authorities. Manohar Parrikar, who had earlier admitted that there were “gaps” in security that led to the Pathankot attack, has also asserted that Pakistani investigators will not be allowed access to the Pathankot airbase to probe the incident. However, his comments were immediately refuted after India’s State Minister for External Affairs, V K Singh, said that the Indian government awaits the visit by Pakistan’s SIT. Following the assault Islamabad assured full cooperation with New Delhi and formed an SIT to probe the Pathankot attack.



On February 22, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, said that India has agreed to receive Pakistani investigators for probing its allegations about the involvement of some groups or people from Pakistan in the January 2 Pathankot airbase attack.

Chaudhry Nisar said that Pakistan SIT (Special Investigation Team) will visit India, as New Delhi has agreed to allow a special investigation team (SIT) from Pakistan. Pakistani Interior minister’s comment comes soon after Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, said India will not allow Pakistani investigators into the airbase in Pathankot. Also, Indian envoy, Gautam Bambawaly, has said that the foreign secretary level talks between Pakistan and India are not tied to the Pathankot airbase attack probe. Earlier on February 19, Pakistani authorities registered an FIR over Pathankot incident which is seen as a “positive step” towards the investigation. Chaudhry Nisar also revealed that several arrests have been made in connection with Pathankot attack.



On February 18, Pentagon Press Secretary, Peter Cook, rejected India’s concern that a proposed sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan could adversely affect the security balance in South Asia.

Peter Cook stressed that the F-16s will enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter terrorism operations. Meanwhile, Pakistan has also expressed ‘disappointment’ over Indian government criticism on the deal, which is increasingly strengthening its own defence cooperation with the US. Pakistan has used F-16 jets to hit hundreds of target during an on-going military operation Zarb-e-Azb. Moreover, military experts are of the opinion that while Pakistan already operates a 33 number of F-16 variants, the addition of more jets is unlikely to have any impact on the regional stability.



On February 14, Foreign Office Spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria expressed surprise at the Indian government’s reaction over the US government’s decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

Zakaria also pointed out that India remains one of the largest importers of defence equipment. Analysts in Pakistan emphasised that despite strong opposition from India and some US Congressmen, the US decision to sell fighter jets to Pakistan was a welcome development. According to the US the purpose of the sale was to enhance Pakistan’s precision strike capability.



On February 12, the Obama Administration notified the US Congress that it planned to sell eight Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, along with training, radar and other equipment, in a deal worth $699 million.

In a related development on February 13, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) summoned US envoy, Richard Verma in New Delhi, over the Obama Administration’s decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Vikas Swarup, said that such arms transfers would not help Pakistan to combat terrorism. Meanwhile, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, said that the transfer of F-16 aircraft would enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counterterrorism operations. Moreover, US State Department, spokesman, Mark Toner said that no country in the region had been more affected by terrorism than Pakistan – and calling it an important US partner in the region. Some observers say US government does not want to upset Islamabad at this juncture because of Pakistan’s decision to target a wide network of terrorist groups along with the Haqqani network and owing to its efforts to get the Afghan peace process back on track.



According to Pakistani security officials on February 8, a special investigation team set up in Pakistan to probe a deadly assault on an Indian airbase last month found no evidence implicating the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

India accused JeM’s chief Masood Azhar for carrying out an assault on the Pathankot airbase on January 2. Following the attacks, the Pakistani government detained Maulana Masood Azhar in ‘protective custody’ and also arrested several members of his group. Pakistani authorities also sealed Jaish’s offices to investigate Indian claims that Pakistan based militants planned the attack. However, Pakistani officials said the investigating team has not ruled out chances that other members of JeM may have been involved in the attacks. Earlier on February 1, a federal government team investigating the Pathankot airbase attack asked the foreign ministry to seek more evidence from India for the January 2 Pathankot attack. A six-member investigation team was formed by the Pakistani government following the Pathankot airbase assault. Evidence provided to Islamabad by New Delhi in connection with Pathankot attack included intercepts of telephone calls made by militants to their alleged handlers in Pakistan. However, the authorities in Pakistan have sought more information from the Indian government regarding the Jan 2 attack as the security officials insist that no further leads were found from these numbers because of their fake identities.



On February 8, American David Headley, jailed in the US for helping plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks told an Indian court that militants had attempted two attacks on the city before killing 166 people in the 2008 attacks.

David Headley also said that the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had a role in the attack. India has accused LeT for carrying out the attacks in Mumbai in 2008. David Headley was arrested by the US authorities in Chicago in 2009 and was sentenced in 2013 by a Chicago court to 35 years for his role in the Mumbai attacks in 2008.



On February 5, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif described the Kashmir issue as a litmus test of the political foresight of Indian and Pakistani leadership. The remarks came during his address to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly.

In a related development on February 4, President Mamnoon Hussain met with the delegation of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in Islamabad. During the meeting, President Mamnoon Hussain said that Pakistan would never waver from its principled stance on Kashmir. President Mamnoon assured the delegation that the leadership and people of Pakistan fully support Kashmiri’s struggle for freedom. Pakistan demands an internationally monitored plebiscite in Kashmir in accordance with UNSC resolutions. Meanwhile, policymakers in Pakistan have also urged India to uphold its commitment to a plebiscite.



On February 5, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Qazi Khalilullah, called for an early resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

It is estimated that the Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir with its 700,000 forces has killed more than 100,000 civilians while thousands have disappeared in the army operations carried out by the Indian forces in IOK. Several reports have emerged highlighting the Indian oppression and its security forces involvement in cases of torture and rape inside IOK..

JANUARY 2016

On January 17, US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, warned India and Pakistan that terrorist groups would continue their attempts to undermine the peace process but they should not allow the militants to achieve their goal.

The US official termed a recent telephonic conversation between PM Sharif and PM Modi as a welcome development saying ‘this time the desire for peace prevailed over terrorism’. John Kirby also said that the terrorist attack at an Indian airbase is part of terrorists’ efforts to prevent India and Pakistan from improving their strained ties. In recent months, the Obama Administration has pressed both India and Pakistan to normalise their relationship and has encouraged dialogue between the two rivals.



On January 14, Pakistan’s Foreign Office announced that talks between the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries would not take place on January 15, 2016.

In a related development on January 14, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, said that Pakistan and India have agreed to reschedule talks between their foreign secretaries. According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office, India and Pakistan are in contact to reschedule the meeting. Meanwhile, the Indian External Affairs ministry said that the decision to reschedule the talks was reached mutually, and is not a unilateral decision by India. On January 13, Dawn reported that the investigation into the Jan 2 Pathankot airbase attack in India entered a critical phase amid reports that Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Maulana Masood Azhar had been arrested. In a related development on January 14, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that it was not aware of Masood Azhar’s arrest.



On January 15, Dawn reported that Punjab Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah confirmed that Jaish-i-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar was under ‘protective custody’.

Conflicting reports continue to surface over the detention of JeM chief, Masood Azhar. The Foreign Office statement followed media reports that Azhar had been arrested on suspicion that his organisation had masterminded the attack on an air base in Pathankot. Notwithstanding the Foreign Office assertion, the government announced that it had arrested several members of Azhar’s group and sealed its offices to investigate Indian claims that the January 2 attack in Pathankot was the work of Pakistan-based militants.



On January 13, Pakistan said it had started a crackdown on the banned Jaish-eMohammad (JeM), following Indian accusations that it was involved in the attack on the Pathankot airbase.

The announcement came in the wake of a national security meeting convened to discuss actions taken based on leads provided by India. Pakistan announced its decision to send a Special Investigating Team to Pathankot in consultation with the Indian government, as Islamabad wants more information from New Delhi about the Pathankot attack. Pakistan’s decision to arrest members of Jaish-eMohammad (JeM) was welcomed by the Indian government. Earlier, on January 10, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting of his security aides on the Pathankot incident. The statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said that Pakistan needs concrete evidence from India for acting against the elements 31 it suspects of being involved in the terrorist strike at Pathankot airbase instead of ‘leads’ suggesting the attack was planned and directed from Pakistan. Islamabad asked for more information, as the information provided by New Delhi was limited to intercepts of telephone calls made by militants to their alleged handlers in Pakistan. India has indicated to Pakistan that the talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries are unlikely to begin unless Islamabad delivers “prompt and decisive action” on the evidence it has provided to Pakistan.



On January 9, US Secretary of State, John Kerry called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and expressed hope that the Pathankot attack would not influence the resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan has said that it is ready to cooperate with India on the issue, but needs more proof to initiate action against suspected elements. John Kerry’s call to Sharif came amid Indian intelligence allegations suggesting that groups and people in Pakistan planned the Pathankot airbase attack. India has also linked the foreign secretary level talks to Pakistan’s action against the militants. On January 9, the US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said it was up to the government of Pakistan to determine how long it would take to investigate the attack on Pathankot air base, following information provided by India. India’s External Affairs Ministry says Islamabad has been given actionable intelligence that the perpetrators involved in the Pathankot assault came from Pakistan. Islamabad says it will conduct ‘swift and transparent’ investigation into the Pathankot incident but demands concrete evidence from India. Previously on January 5, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, while in Sri Lanka, held a telephonic conversation with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. During the discussion Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take “firm and immediate action” against those behind an attack on an Indian Air Force base. PM Nawaz Sharif assured his Indian counterpart that Pakistan would investigate any leads or information provided by the Indian government. Moreover, PM Sharif said terrorists would not be allowed to derail the peace initiative between the two countries. On the same day President Mamnoon Hussain also condemned the terrorist attack on Pathankot but reiterated Pakistan’s pledge to support the movement waged by the people of India-held Kashmir for their right to self-determination. In Pakistan, there are growing concerns about the Indian government’s move to alter the demographic makeup of Jammu and Kashmir by settling non-state citizens in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).



On January 12, US State Department, spokesman, John Kirby termed the India-Pakistan relationship difficult “and very complicated.”

Kirby urged India and Pakistan 32 to stay the course and not allow extremists to prevent them from engaging in dialogue to resolve bilateral issues. Kirby also said that, during the telephonic conversation between the US Secretary of State, John Kerry and the Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif agreed to focus on the war against terrorism in Pakistan and the entire region. The Obama administration has urged both India and Pakistan to normalise their relationship and has encouraged dialogue between the two rivals.



On January 14, four activists of the Hindu right-wing group, Shiv Sena, vandalised the office of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in New Delhi.

One person was arrested after the attack. Shiv Sena blamed Pakistan for the attacks at Pathankot and the Indian consulate in Afghanistan. Pakistan High Commission in India asked Indian Ministry of External Affairs to provide adequate security following the incident.



On January 14, Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian government welcomes Pakistan’s move to form a special investigation team to probe the Pathankot air base attack and would cooperate with Pakistan in the inquiry.

Swarup also said the expected meeting between India and Pakistan’s foreign secretaries has been rescheduled to “sometime in the near future”. Furthermore, he said the Indian intelligence agencies will work with Pakistan and provide all support. On January 12, India’s Home Minister, Rajnath Singh said India has no reason not to trust Pakistan’s assurance that it would take effective action on inputs given about the perpetrators of the Pathankot terror attack. Earlier on January 10, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assured his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi of Pakistan’s cooperation in probing the incident and taking adequate action.



In a January 12 letter to Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Chairman Yasin Malik cautioned Pakistan about the implications of a proposal to convert Gilgit-Baltistan into a province.

Malik urged the Pakistani government to refrain from altering the status of GilgitBaltistan saying such a move would only weaken the cause of the Kashmiri people. Islamabad seeks to upgrade the constitutional status of the Gilgit-Baltistan region to provide legal cover to the multi-billion-dollar Chinese investment plan. Azad Kashmir remains a semi-autonomous area and has been not formally integrated into Pakistan due to Pakistan’s stance that a referendum should be carried out across the region. Observers say such attempts could signal a shift in the Islamabad’s principled stance on the future of the wider Kashmir region.



On January 9, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi visited Pathankot airbase, one week after a militant attack left seven soldiers dead. PM Modi reviewed the situation in the aftermath of the airbase attack by terrorists on January 2.

He also visited forward positions along the Indo-Pakistan border. On January 7, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Vikas Swarup said that proposed talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries await Islamabad’s response to key information New Delhi has provided. The Pathankot attack has once again put the focus on challenge of cross-border terrorism. India says Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Rauf and two others are the key conspirators of the air force base attack in Pathankot. India has pressed for action against them as a condition for any future talks with Pakistan. Analysts fear if the scheduled talks occur, India will insist that the broader agenda of the talks would only involve terrorism, which will clash with Pakistan’s stance that terrorism should be discussed alongside the core issue of Kashmir.

On January 7, India’s Border Security Force (BSF), in its preliminary report on the Pathankot incident to the Indian Home Ministry, said it was still looking for a breach of the international border though the focus of further investigations would be to look for any old or existing tunnels from Pakistan. Moreover, the officials said the BSF claimed in its report that there were no signs or evidence to suggest that the terrorists had breached the international borders. Earlier on January 5, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also said that were “some gaps” in the security that led to the attack on Air Force base in Pathankot. Serious debate started in India on the lack of preparedness to available intelligence inputs which led to the attack on the airbase. Analysts say the operational blunders committed by Indian security forces during the November 2008 militant attack on Mumbai, in which 166 people died, were repeated in Pathankot due to a lack of well-defined procedures.

On January 4, an alliance of Kashmiri militant organisations, United Jihad Council (UJC), claimed that the attack on India’s Pathankot airbase was carried out by a group of Kashmiri ‘freedom fighters’. The spokesman of the United Jihad Council (UJC), said that Pakistan had nothing to do with the attack but ‘the Indian government, media and their armed forces are suffering from Pakistan phobia’. However, the claims are met with contradiction as India blames Jaish-eMohammed for the Pathankot airbase attack. The UJC comprises over a dozen groups fighting Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and is headed by Syed Salahuddin, supreme ‘commander’ of Hizbul Mujahideen.



On January 2, Seven Indian security personnel along with six terrorists were killed after an assault on the Pathankot air base in the Indian state of Punjab.

New Delhi named Maulana Azhar as the mastermind of the Pathankot airbase attack and has linked the talks between the two countries to action against perpetrators of the Pathankot attack. The United Jihad Council (UJC) has also claimed responsibility for the Pathankot airbase attack thus contradicting Indian government claims that JeM’s Masood Azhar was responsible for the attack.



On January 8, Dawn reported that the government in Pakistan is considering a proposal to upgrade the status of Gilgit-Baltistan into a constitutional province or a ‘provisional province’.

The proposal would grant Gilgit-Baltistan greater legislative powers. Beijing remains concerned over the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that would pass through the disputed region. Meanwhile officials in Pakistan says raising the status of Gilgit-Baltistan would provide legal cover to the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). On January 6, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the terrorist attack on an Indian airbase in Pathankot and called it a conspiracy to derail talks between Islamabad and New Delhi. The meeting of APHC’s leaders resolved to fully support the steps taken by India and Pakistan for the resumption of the dialogue process between the two countries. The resolution also emphasised that the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are the primary stakeholders, have to be involved in any successful dialogue process aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue.

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