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.