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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 2018

DECEMBER 2018

On December 18, Indian citizen Hamid Nehal Ansari, who illegally entered Pakistan and was involved in “anti-state crimes and forging documents” was repatriated to India.

Ansari was handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border after he was released after serving three-year sentence for espionage in Pakistan. In a related development on December 26, 2018, India released two Pakistani citizens, Abdullah Shah and Mohammed Imran Qureshi Warsi as a goodwill gesture. Indian authorities had detained Abdullah Shah for illegally crossing the border in 2017 and Mohammed Imran Qureshi Warsi on charges of “forgery and spying” in 2004.



On December 16, Pakistan’s Foreign Office “strongly condemned” the killing of at least 14 Kashmiris and more than 200 civilians injured by Indian troops in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

On December 22, Indian troops killed at least 6 Kashmiri fighters in Indian Occupied Kashmir. In a related development on December 20, Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and demanded his intervention for ending the human rights violations by the Indian troops in IOK. Prime Minister reminded Guterres that the Kashmir dispute “is not a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India but an internationally recognised dispute and an outstanding agenda item in the UN Security Council.” In response to Pakistan’s strong reaction over the killing of Kashmiris, India’s Foreign Ministry said that Pakistani leaders should “mind their own business” and take steps to end “terror emanating from their soil.”



On December 11, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua said that New Delhi’s negative attitude towards Pakistan is a hurdle in improving Pakistan-India ties and regional progress.

She said that India has also held the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit process hostage by refusing to attend it. Earlier, in November 2018, the Indian government had said it would not attend the SAARC conference if it was held in Pakistan.



On December 9, Indian troops killed three Kashmiri fighters in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). The fighting sparked anti-India protests in the region.

On December 11, 2018, Kashmiri fighters attacked a police post in IOK and killed at least four policemen. Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack.



Addressing a cabinet meeting on December 6, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that India gave a “political colour” to his gesture of opening the Kartarpur border.

The Premier said that his government’s decision to open the Kartarpur border was not taken for political advantage. On November 28, 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Kartarpur corridor, a long-held demand of the Sikh community. The corridor, once built, would link Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. Pakistan’s government also criticised India for the “relentless negative propaganda campaign being waged by a section of the Indian media” against its initiative of opening the Kartarpur corridor.

 

NOVEMBER 2018

On November 28, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Narowal to inaugurate the Kartarpur corridor that would link Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, the Premier called for peace between Pakistan and India and reiterated, “Kashmir is the only issue between two countries and all it needs is just two capable leaderships to resolve this issue.” An Indian delegation comprising India’s Minister for Food, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Housing, Hardeep Puri and Punjab’s Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums, Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the ceremony.



On November 26, 2018 India’s Vice President, Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the construction of Kartarpur corridor on the Indian side of the border.

The construction of the corridor was a long-held demand of the Sikh community. Once built, the corridor, would provide Sikh Yatrees an easy access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. However, hours before the event, Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said that the Kartarpur corridor initiative is not linked with the dialogue process with Pakistan. She asserted that there would be no dialogue with Pakistan unless Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India. She also announced that India would not attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference if it is held in Pakistan.



On November 26, US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo announced that the US would offer a new reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual who was involved in planning or facilitating the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Secretary Pompeo urged Pakistan to uphold its UN Security Council obligations “to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT) and its affiliates.”



On November 21, Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) Governor, Satya Pal Malik dissolved the legislative assembly of IOK. The development came soon after the Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claimed victory to form the government with the support of Congress and National Conference.

IOK was under Governor’s rule since June 2018 when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended its alliance with former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti.



According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on November 21, Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Pakistan’s Army Chief criticised India for continued ceasefire violations and rhetoric of provocative statements by its military leadership. General Bajwa asked India to adopt the course of dialogue for peace and progress in the region. Meanwhile, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said that the Indian Army is capable of using drones to attack hostile targets inside IOK and across the LoC provided the country is willing to accept the consequences of such actions. He was speaking at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis on November 29, 2018.



On November 20, Indian Security Forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) killed Tehreek-i-Hurriyat leader, Hafizullah Mir.

The killing of Mir, a prominent Kashmiri leader triggered clashes between Indian Security Forces and residents who called for an end to Indian rule. In a related development on November 25, 2018, at least 8 Kashmiris were killed by the Indian troops in IOK.



Reuters reported on November 9 that the Indian government would sell stocks worth at least $412 million seized from people who moved to Pakistan following partition in 1947, as a way to make up for a shortfall in revenues.

The stocks are part of what India terms “enemy properties” that once belonged to people who migrated to Pakistan and China. Once these people became citizens of these two countries, they were treated as “enemies” in India and their assets in the country including land, houses and shares were seized and held by the Custodian of Enemy Property of India.



According to The Nation on November 2, Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan lauded an independent report on the human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) launched by the All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPKG) at the House of Commons.

The President appealed to the British Parliamentarians to help find a political and diplomatic solution to the Kashmir dispute through the realisation of the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people.

 

OCTOBER 2018

In a related development on October 26, at least 8 Kashmiri fighters and 2 Indian soldiers were killed in gun battles in IOK. The ties between Pakistan and India remain hostile due to the situation in Kashmir.

On October, 25, 2018 Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and termed Kashmir dispute a “core unresolved agenda”. Meanwhile, speaking to the media in Delhi on October 27, 2018 Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat accused Pakistan of supporting the stone-pelters and said that the Indian Army would ensure that Jammu and Kashmir remain part of India.



Addressing a seminar in Islamabad on October 25, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi emphasised that as per the principles of the partition of the Indian subcontinent, Kashmir could not become a part of India.

The Foreign Minister recalled that the Indian subcontinent was partitioned on the basis of principles that the Muslim majority population/areas in terms of geographical contiguity would become part of Pakistan. He said that in this context, Kashmir should have been a part of 33 Pakistan. Qureshi said that until the Kashmir dispute is resolved, Pakistan-India relations would remain bitter.



On October 22, Prime Minister Imran Khan “condemned the new cycle of killings” of more than 10 Kashmiris by Indian Security Forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

PM Imran Khan said that India should resolve the Kashmir dispute through dialogue in accordance with UNSC resolutions. The killings have triggered widespread anti-India protests in IOK seeking an end to Indian rule in the region. In the wake of the worsening human rights situation in IOK, Pakistan continues to urge the international community to “act against Indian atrocities”.



On October 15, President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi said, “The unresolved Kashmir dispute poses great threat to regional stability.” He reiterated that the United Nations must play its role in resolving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

President Alvi also noted that strategic stability in South Asia was being threatened by the offensive posture and induction of lethal weapons by India.



According to the Associated Press on October 11, Indian Security Forces killed a Kashmiri scholar-turned fighter, Manan Wani and his colleague sparking violent antiIndia protests by residents in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Wani was doing his PhD from Aligarh University. However, he quit the degree in January 2018 and joined Hizbul Mujahideen, the most prominent Kashmiri indigenous armed group fighting Indian rule in IOK. The group calls for the merger of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan and has conducted a number of operations against Indian military targets in Jammu and Kashmir.



On October 1, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and said that he encourages “positive dialogue” for a peaceful settlement of the dispute.

The UN Chief’s remarks came hours before he travelled to India. The situation in IOK remains tense after Indian Security Forces killed at least 18 Kashmiris in September 2018. Pakistan has urged the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish a commission of inquiry and appoint a special rapporteur to investigate human rights violations by Indian Security Forces in IOK. Pakistan says that the unresolved Kashmir dispute “poses a great threat to regional peace and stability” and has called upon the UN to play a positive role towards helping settle the dispute in accordance with Security Council resolutions. However, India maintains that there is no room for third party mediation or UN involvement particularly in the Kashmir dispute insisting that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and must be resolved through direct negotiations.

SEPTEMBER 2018

On September 30 , Indian troops fired shots at a helicopter carrying Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s Prime Minister, Raja Farooq Haider from across the Line of Control (LoC).

The helicopter landed safely and no human loss was reported. Raja Farooq Haider termed the act as “cowardice”. Indian Army claimed that the helicopter had “violated Indian airspace” along the LoC in Poonch. However, Pakistan rejected India’s claim saying the chopper was flying within Pakistan’s airspace.



Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York on September 29, India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj accused Pakistan of “supporting terrorism” and “glorifying killers”.

Swaraj accused Pakistan of stalling peace efforts between the two countries. Swaraj also called on the UN to act on India’s proposal to pass a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism which is pending since 1996. She defended India’s record on human rights, saying there was no bigger transgressor of rights than terrorists. Pakistan frequently accuses India of human rights violations and state terrorism in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Pakistan has also called upon the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate India’s human rights violations in IOK.



Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York on September 29, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi warned that the unresolved Kashmir dispute poses a great threat to regional peace and stability and added there could be “no lasting peace in South Asia without a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute based on the UN Security Council resolutions.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister criticised India for frequently violating the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. He warned that if India ever tried to act upon its “doctrine of limited war” against Pakistan, it would evoke a “strong and matching” response. He also accused India of perpetrating “state sponsored terrorism” in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Qureshi also raised the issue of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and said that India was behind various acts of terrorism in Pakistan, including the 2014 Army Public School attack in Peshawar and the 2018 Mastung attack in Balochistan. Meanwhile, exercising the Right to Reply at the UN, Eenam Gambhir, India’s First Secretary to UN rejected Pakistan’s Foreign Minister claim that India was behind the 2014 Army Public School attack saying it was the “most outrageous and preposterous allegation.”



On September 26, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi urged the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish a commission of inquiry and appoint a special rapporteur to investigate human rights violations by Indian Security Forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

The Foreign Minister demanded this during his speech at a meeting of Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s special session.



According to Radio Pakistan on September 25, Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked the World Bank “to em panel the Court of Arbitration over illegal construction of dams by India on western rivers.”

The development followed a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The Foreign Minister stated that India’s construction of Kishanganga and Ratle dams represent a violation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). Jim Yong Kim said that World Bank wants to play a constructive role in resolving this important matter and indicated that the Bank was in the process of finalising a fresh initiative to approach Pakistan and India in this matter.



Dawn reported on September 26 that India has postponed the inspection of two hydroelectric projects, 1000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal, by Pakistani experts.

The development follows the latest tensions between the two countries after India cancelled a planned meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. In August 2018, India allowed experts from Pakistan to inspect its Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal hydropower projects after an Indian delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar Saxena visited Pakistan and held discussions with Mehar Ali Shah, Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters. During the talks, Pakistani officials informed the Indian delegation that they had objections over the design of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal hydropower projects on the River Chenab. Pakistan maintains that India has violated the Indus Waters Treaty by constructing reservoirs and that it could pursue other options including the appointment of neutral experts or by going to the international court of arbitration, in case India fails to address its concerns.



On September 21, India backtracked from holding a planned meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan a day after New Delhi agreed to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September, 2018.

Following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s letter to PM Narendra Modi in which he requested resumption of bilateral talks, India confirmed on September 20, 2018, that meeting had been scheduled between India’s Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi. A day after India’s External Affairs Ministry (MEA) said the government has decided to cancel the talks after what it described as the “latest brutal killings” of its “security personnel by Pakistan-based entities.” However, India did not provide any details about the killings. The MEA further said another reason why New Delhi cancelled the meeting was to protest the release of a series of postage stamps by Pakistan “glorifying a terrorist and terrorism.” Pakistan had issued postage stamps of Burhan Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen fighter who was killed by Indian troops in July 2016. However, the stamp was issued in July 2018, months before India accepted Pakistan’s offer for talks. The Indian government’s decision to hold talks with Pakistan was strongly criticised by India’s opposition groups including the Congress party. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan termed India’s response to his offer for talks as “arrogant” and “disappointing”. Bilateral discussions between India and Pakistan have a record of remaining unsuccessful.



On September 24, at least 5 Kashmiris and an Indian Army soldier were killed in fighting in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). The Kashmiri leaders denounced the killings and vowed to continue their “struggle for liberation.”

In a related development on September 27, 2018, clashes erupted in IOK after Indian troops killed 5 civilians.



According to Times of India on September 22, the Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat said that India “needs to take stern action to avenge the barbarism that the terrorists and the Pakistan Army have been carrying out”.

In response, Pakistan’s Military spokesman, Major General Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan is “ready for war but want to move towards peace.” He added that Pakistan’s desire for peace must not be misconstrued as its weakness. In a related development on September 24, 2018, General Bipin Rawat said that India should conduct “a second surgical strike on the militants’ outposts” across the Line of Control in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).



According to Dawn on September 4, India allowed Pakistan to inspect its projects in the Jhelum basin, including the Kishanganga hydroelectric project while Pakistan allowed India to inspect the Kotri barrage over the Indus under Article VIII (4) (c) of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

This was agreed to during a meeting between India’s Indus Water Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar Saxena and Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters, Mehar Ali Shah on August 30, 2018 in Pakistan. During the meeting, India also allowed experts from Pakistan to inspect its 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal hydropower projects in September 2018. Pakistan is concerned over the designs of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal projects. It is also concerned over the Kishanganga hydropower station in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Pakistan maintains that India has violated the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) by constructing the Kishanganga project that would disrupt water supply to Pakistan and affect agricultural production. In August 2016, Pakistan asked the World Bank to appoint a court of arbitration to review the designs of Kishanganga and Ratle projects on the Chenab. India rejected the suggestion and insisted that a neutral expert should decide the matter.



On September 3, the Former Australian Senator, Lee Rhiannon visited Pakistan and met with Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

During the meeting, the Foreign Minister raised the issue of human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) especially in the context of the OHCHR Report on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir which recommends the formation of a Commission of Inquiry (COI). The Foreign Minister stated that it is high time the international community moves beyond rhetoric and takes meaningful steps in putting an immediate end to the gross and systematic human rights abuses in IOK. He reiterated that the only solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is to grant Kashmiris the legitimate right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions. While expressing support for the Kashmiri people, Rhiannon regretted that Jammu and Kashmir remain amongst the longest unresolved disputes on the agenda of UN Security Council. She stated that the international community must consider the findings of the OHCHR Report on Jammu and Kashmir. Lee Rhiannon also visited Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and met with AJK’s President Masood Khan.

 

AUGUST 2018

According to Dawn on August 31, India has allowed experts from Pakistan to inspect its 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal hydropower projects in September 2018.

The development came after an Indian delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar Saxena visited Pakistan and held discussions with Mehar Ali Shah, Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters. During the talks, Pakistani officials informed the Indian delegation that they had objections over the design of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal hydropower projects on the River Chenab. Pakistan maintains that India has violated the Indus Waters Treaty by constructing reservoirs and that it could pursue other options including the appointment of neutral experts or by going to the international court of arbitration, in case India failed to address its concerns. Earlier in June 2018, a media report citing Pakistani officials noted that India wanted “to place spillway of 1,000 megawatts of Pakal Dul Dam on Chenab River in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), about 15 meters down against the permissible limit, which would enable India to hold 11,000 acre-feet of water from river Chenab.”



On August 29, the joint India-Pakistan anti-terror military drill under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) concluded in Russia. The joint exercise involved tactical level operations in an international counterinsurgency or counter-terrorism environment under the SCO Charter.

In a related development on August 20, Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that dialogue is the only way forward for ties between Pakistan and India and added, “both countries cannot afford adventurism.”



Addressing the nation on August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the situation in Kashmir can be resolved only by embracing its people and not with bullets or abuses.

In his speech on India’s 72nd Independence Day, Modi said his government was committed to the development of all sections and regions in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). PM Modi also announced that India would launch its first manned space mission by 2022.



Addressing the nation on August 14, President Mamnoon Hussain reiterated Pakistan’s “political and moral support” to resolve the Kashmir issue under United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

In his speech on Pakistan’s 72nd Independence Day, President Hussain called upon the international community to raise its voice for Kashmiris in their struggle for the right to self-determination. President Hussain also remembered the victims of terrorism during his speech.



On August 17, Interim Law and Information Minister, Syed Ali Zafar visited India to attend the funeral of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The Interim Law and Information Minister quoted Vajpayee as saying that India and Pakistan should avoid war for the sake of future generations. Ali Zafar also met with Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj during his brief visit.



On August 10, 2018, Indian High Commissioner, Ajay Bisaria met Imran Khan in Islamabad. During the meeting Imran Khan pushed for the “resumption of talks between Pakistan and India”.

Imran Khan also expressed grave concerns on the human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

JULY 2018

On July 18, Pakistan’s Foreign Office expressed its disappointment over India’s rejection of the UN report on gross human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

The Foreign Office statement came a day after Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said, “Indian officials dismissed the UN report without examining it and responding to the very serious concerns about the human rights situation” in IOK. India has termed the UN report “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”. In June 2018, the UN released a report criticising Indian Security Forces for inflicting mass civilian casualties in IOK and called for an international investigation into human right abuses in the region. Pakistan welcomed the comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in the region. However, India refuses to allow access to the UN team to conduct an independent investigation.



On July 12, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres expressed support to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s call for an independent investigation into human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Guterres noted, “The UN Human Rights High Commissioner represents the voice of the UN on the issue.” Pakistan’s Foreign Office welcomed Guterres’ statement. Earlier on June 14, 2018, the UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticised the Indian Security Forces for inflicting mass civilian casualties in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and called for an international investigation into human right abuses in the region. The demand came after the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released its first ever report on the situation of human rights in Kashmir accusing Indian Security Forces of unlawful killings in IOK.



On July 12, Pakistan’s Foreign Office condemned India’s “brutal” human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) after Indian Security Forces killed eight civilians and injured over 170 with use of brute force including bullets, pellets and teargas shells.

The development follows clashes between Indian Security Forces and protesters ahead of the second anniversary of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani by Indian Security Forces.



According to The Indian Express on July 10, scholars from universities including Yale, Harvard and Princeton registered their protest after four Pakistani scholars were denied visa by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to attend the conference organised by the Association for Asian Studies and Ashoka University in New Delhi.

Around 80 scholars attended a protest meeting in Delhi. They vowed not to hold such conferences in countries that exclude anyone based on nationality. The MEA had told organisers of the conference that it does not “recommend” participants from Pakistan. MEA spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar said, “Several factors go into taking a decision. Besides inputs from agencies, a major consideration is state of relationship. Participation of Pakistan or any other country is a reflection of state of relationship with that country.”

 

JUNE 2018

On June 24, Pakistan’s Foreign Office denied that it had stopped Indian High Commissioner, Ajay Bisaria from visiting a Sikh shrine in Hasan Abdal.

Pakistan responded a day after India summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, Syed Haider Shah and lodged a protest for not allowing the Indian High Commissioner to visit a Sikh shrine and meet Sikh pilgrims. The Pakistani Foreign Office, however, claimed that Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan agreed to cancel his visit after members of the Sikh community barred him from entering the shrine. They were protesting due to the release of a controversial film on the life of the Sikh religion’s founder Guru Nanak.



On June 21, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Dr Mohammad Faisal said that Pakistan is ready to “facilitate the Commission of Inquiry to visit AJK, as proposed in the recent UN Report, provided that India is ready to allow them access in Indian Occupied Kashmir.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Office claimed that India has become isolated in the international community after the UN report blamed India for human rights violations in IOK. On June 14, 2018, the UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticised the Indian Security Forces for inflicting mass civilian casualties in IOK and called for an international investigation into human right abuses in the region. The development came after the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released its first ever report on the situation of human rights in Kashmir accusing Indian Security Forces of using “excessive force” resulting in unlawful killings in the Kashmir. However, top Indian officials rejected the report with Army Chief, Bipin Rawat calling it as “motivated”. In a related development on June 18, 2018, Zeid Raad Al Hussein said that he wants to engage both India and Pakistan about the situation in Kashmir.



On June 19, Indian Occupied Kashmir’s (IOK) Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti resigned after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended its coalition with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The Indian government has imposed Governor’s rule in IOK.

Following her resignation, Mufti said, “the muscular policy of the Indian government will not work in Kashmir”. Pakistan said it is closely monitoring the developments in IOK. The BJP entered into an alliance with PDP in 2015. However, the alliance faced many challenges since the BJP maintained a hardline stance on the Kashmir issue and sought to repeal Article 370 of India’s constitution which grants special autonomous status to the state. The PDP on the other hand has called for reconciliation with Pakistan and groups fighting against Indian rule in IOK.



On June 18, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar said, “matters related to India-Pakistan relations are purely bilateral in nature and have no scope for involvement of any third country.”

MEA’s spokesperson statement came in response to the Chinese Ambassador to India’s suggestion for a trilateral cooperation between India, China and Pakistan under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to resolve issues between New Delhi and Islamabad for maintaining peace. Raveesh Kumar said that the Indian government has not received any such suggestion from the Chinese government saying, “We consider the statement as the personal opinion of the Ambassador.” The opposition Congress party also condemned the Chinese Ambassador’s statement saying all issues between India and Pakistan would be resolved as per the Simla Agreement.



On June 14, the UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticised the Indian Security Forces for inflicting mass civilian casualties in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and called for an international investigation into human right abuses in the region.

Pakistan welcomed the UN proposal for an international investigation into human rights violations in the IOK. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released its first ever report on the situation of human rights in Kashmir accusing Indian Security Forces of using “excessive force” resulting in unlawful killings in the Kashmir region. The UN called on Indian Security Forces to exercise “maximum restraint”. India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesman, Raveesh Kumar rejected the report calling it “fallacious, tendentious and motivated” and a “selective compilation of largely unverified information.”



On June 14, Pakistan’s Foreign Office rejected Indian protests against the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Interim Constitution (13th Amendment) Act 2018 and its “fallacious and baseless” claim over the State of Jammu & Kashmir being an “integral part” of India.

Earlier on June 1, 2018, the AJK Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council approved the amendments to the AJK Interim Constitution, Act 1974, further empowering the State government by abolishing the AJK Council. Following the development, India conveyed to Pakistan that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the AJK is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947. It asked Pakistan to vacate all areas it “illegally occupies” in Kashmir.



Dawn reported on June 5 that the World Bank has asked Pakistan to accept India’s offer of a “neutral expert” and stand down from pursuing its position of referring the Kishanganga dam dispute to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA).

Earlier, on May 19, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited IOK to inaugurate the Kishanganga hydroelectric power station. Pakistan says that the construction of the Kishanganga hydropower project would disrupt water supply to Pakistan and affect agricultural production. Therefore, the dispute should be referred to the International Court of Arbitration. Meanwhile, India maintains that the differences are due to the design of the dam and hence the matter should be addressed to a “neutral expert”.



During a media briefing on June 4, DG Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan’s offer to India for dialogue always remains on the table and stressed “both sides would have to show positivity for moving forward.”

Ghafoor added that there was no space for war between the two nuclear-armed countries, however, he warned India not to mistake Pakistan’s desire to promote peace as its weakness since the country is fully capable of responding to any sort of aggression. On Pakistan’s relations with the US in the context of Afghanistan, the DG ISPR said that Pakistan would extend any help to US-led coalition forces for achieving peace in Afghanistan while keeping its national interest foremost.



On June 1, at least 1 civilian was killed after an armoured vehicle of the Indian Security Forces drove into a crowd of protesters in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). The incident led to strong anti-India demonstrations in the region.

The latest tensions come at a time when the Indian government has directed its Security Forces in IOK to follow what it calls “non-initiation of combat operations” during the month of Ramazan.

MAY 2018

On May 27, Pakistan’s Foreign Office rejected India’s protest against the Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 and India’s claim that Indian Occupied Kashmir is its “integral part”. Reiterating that the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir is a “disputed” territory, Pakistan reminded India that the final status of Jammu & Kashmir would be determined through “the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite administered by the United Nations.”

The Foreign Office demanded that India should take steps to vacate its illegal occupation and create conditions for the implementation of the UNSC resolutions. These statements came after India summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, Syed Haider Shah and lodged a strong protest over Islamabad’s move to approve the GilgitBaltistan Order 2018, which gives the Pakistani Prime Minister an overriding authority to deal with the affairs of the region. India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) conveyed to Shah that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the “Gilgit-Baltistan” areas, is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947.



On May 27, Indian diplomat, Madhuri Gupta was jailed for three years after she was convicted by an Indian court for passing state secrets to Pakistan’s Intelligence Services.

The court said that Gupta was involved in “spying and wrongful communication of information” while posted to the Indian Embassy in Islamabad. She was arrested in 2010.



According to Dawn on May 24, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) asked the government to take a final decision about bringing 27 Indian citizens to Pakistan by June 27, 2018, for recording their testimony against Pakistani suspects in the Mumbai attacks case.

Pakistan insists that prosecution has been affected due to India’s lack of cooperation. In January 2016, Pakistan had asked the Indian Government to send the twenty-four witnesses to Pakistan to testify against the seven suspects. However, India was reluctant to send witnesses to Pakistan to testify. Pakistan had said that material evidence and cross examination of prosecution witnesses was necessary for further proceedings in the trial.



On May 21, the World Bank convened a meeting in Washington of experts from Pakistan and India following Pakistan’s complaint to the World Bank regarding India’s inauguration of the 330-megawatt Kishanganga hydropower station in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

The talks cover key points including the height of the dam built on the Kishanganga river, Pakistan’s demand for setting up a court of arbitration to settle the dispute and India’s counter demand for an international expert. Quoting the World Bank, Pakistani media reports claimed, however, that the talks with the Pakistani delegation did not lead to an agreement on the way forward. On May 19, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited IOK to inaugurate the Kishanganga hydroelectric power station. According to Pakistani officials India had completed the Kishanganga project during the period the World Bank “paused” the construction of the hydropower project for either appointing a Court of Arbitration (COA) as requested by Pakistan or a neutral expert requested by India. Pakistani officials also claim that the Kishanganga hydro-power project would disrupt water supply to Pakistan and affect agricultural production.



On May 14, the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting termed former PM Nawaz Sharif’s statement regarding 2008 Mumbai attacks as “incorrect and misleading”.

The NSC meeting follows Nawaz Sharif’s interview to Dawn on May 12, 2018, in which he stated that terrorist organisations were “active in Pakistan”. He said, “Should we allow non-state actors to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai?”. Furthermore, referring to the Mumbai attacks’ trial proceedings, he questioned, “Why can’t we complete the trial?”. Sharif’s remarks stirred a controversy in the country. Meanwhile, the Indian media termed his statement as a confession of Pakistan’s role in the Mumbai attacks. The NSC “unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions.” It recalled that the Mumbai attacks proceedings were delayed due to India’s lack of cooperation and India’s “denial of access to the principal accused, Ajmal Qasab, and his extraordinarily hurried execution”. Pakistan blames India for the delay in Mumbai trials insisting that India’s lack of cooperation had complicated the case and weakened the prosecution. In January 2016, Pakistan had asked the Indian government to send the 24 witnesses to Pakistan to testify against the seven suspects. However, India was reluctant to send witnesses to Pakistan for testifying. Pakistan had said that material evidence and cross examination of prosecution witnesses was required for further proceedings in the trial as per the country’s law.



On May 8, the World Bank rejected as “incorrect” media reports that Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif laundered $4.9 billion to India to boost India’s foreign reserves.

The World Bank’s denial came after National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief, Justice Javed Iqbal ordered a probe against Nawaz Sharif into his alleged money laundering to India.



According to a commentary published by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on May 3, “senior Pakistani officers, led by Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, realise that the way to peace and prosperity is through military cooperation with India.”

The commentary pointed out that “ties between the two foes are warming up” and the two countries would also take part in joint military drills in Russia in September 2018. It added, “These initiatives come against a background of almost weekly exchanges of fire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.” However, the commentary asks “Will New Delhi reciprocate?” In the past there have been repeated attempts by India and Pakistan to improve their relations as increasing tensions between the two remains a threat to regional peace. However, peace would remain elusive until the “core issue” of Jammu and Kashmir is resolved.



On May 2, Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) in Islamabad. During the meeting, “the NSC directed the Water Resources Division to forcefully pursue the violations of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) by India with the World Bank.

Pakistan has serious reservations on the designs of some of India’s hydropower projects particularly, the Kishanganga Dam. Furthermore, Pakistani officials insist that India had completed the Kishanganga project during the period the World Bank “paused” the construction of the hydropower project for either appointing a Court of Arbitration (COA) as requested by Pakistan or a neutral expert requested by India. Earlier in April 2018, Pakistan conveyed it to the World Bank that India had violated a World Bank mandated pause placed in 2016, by completing the controversial 330MW Kishanganga project on the Neelum river. Pakistani officials asked the World Bank to address their concerns over the Kishanganga hydropower project and in this regard requested a meeting with World Bank’ officials. However, the Bank has not responded yet to Islamabad’s request for a meeting whilst Indian PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the disputed Kishanganga in May 2018.



During an interview to The Indian Express on May 10, Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat sent out a message to Kashmiri youth that “Azaadi isn’t possible. It won’t happen.” He warned that India would fight those with “full force” who seek “Azadi”.

General Rawat’s comments follow a new round of clashes between Kashmiris and Indian Security Forces in which at least 5 civilians and 5 fighters were killed and more than 50 were wounded in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). The killings have triggered strong protests in the region after thousands took to the streets and hurled stones at the Indian Security Forces, demanding withdrawal of Indian troops from the state. Meanwhile, Pakistan “denounced Indian state terrorism” and called upon the United Nations to play its role to stop the killings of Kashmiris and in enforcing their right to self- determination. Pakistan demands the implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir which declare the status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) as ‘disputed’ and also call for a ‘free and impartial plebiscite’ as the final solution. In a related development, Pakistan also welcomed the strong support by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states for the resolution of Kashmir dispute in line with the UNSC resolutions at the 45th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Dhaka on May 5 and 6, 2018.

APRIL 2018

On April 19, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson, Dr Muhammad Faisal reiterated that India’s claims about the ‘2016 surgical strike’ were “false and baseless” and added, “Repeating a lie doesn’t turn it into the truth.”

The Foreign Office response came a day after Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in an apparent reference to Pakistan said that India would not tolerate those who like to “export terror” and would respond to them “in the language they understand”. PM Modi also claimed, 32 “before disclosing the news of the ‘surgical strikes’ to media, India had repeatedly attempted to contact Pakistan’s Army to inform them about the operation so they could come and collect the dead bodies.” He was speaking at the “Bharat ki Baat, Sabke Saath” diaspora event in London. Reacting to Modi’s remarks, Foreign Office spokesperson, Dr Faisal accused India of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan saying, “Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav is proof of Indian state-sponsored terrorism.”



On April 15, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) lodged a protest with Pakistan for not allowing Indian High Commissioner, Ajay Bisaria to meet Sikh pilgrims who had travelled to Pakistan on April 12, 2018.

The MEA said a group of around 1800 Sikh pilgrims visited Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi, a religious festival of the Sikh community. The MEA called it an “inexplicable diplomatic discourtesy” by Pakistan, maintaining that these incidents constitute a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. However, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said that Indian allegations regarding prevention of meeting of Indian envoy with Sikh pilgrims were “reprehensible attempts to mutate truth.” The Foreign Office said that the Indian High Commissioner agreed to cancel the visit due to protest by Sikh pilgrims over the screening of a controversial movie in India on Baba Guru Nanak Devji.



According to Dawn on April 6, a World Bank spokesperson confirmed that the World Bank had received Pakistan’s complaint on the completion of the Kishanganga hydropower plant by India and said the Bank was working with Pakistan and India for “an amicable resolution of the dispute.”

Pakistan had complained that India had violated a World Bank mandated pause placed in 2016, by completing the controversial 330MW Kishanganga project on the Neelum river. Pakistan asked the World Bank to recognise its responsibility under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) to address its concerns over the Kishanganga hydropower project. According to Pakistani officials India had completed the Kishanganga project during the period the World Bank “paused” the construction of the hydropower project for either appointing a Court of Arbitration (COA) as requested by Pakistan or a neutral expert requested by India. Since then the World Bank arranged two rounds of talks between India and Pakistan, however, no progress was achieved during these talks. Pakistan has serious reservations on the designs of some of India’s hydropower projects including Ratle (850MW), Pakal Dul (1,000MW) and Lower Kalnai (48MW) projects located in the Chenab basin and the Kishanganga Dam and Wullar Barrage on the Jhelum river. Pakistan insists that the designs of these projects have violated the IWT. India, however, maintains that the designs are in line with the Treaty.



On April 4, the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting chaired by Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, “condemned the recent reign of terror unleashed by the Indian Security Forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir.”

Earlier on April 1, 2018, at least 20 Kashmiris were killed by Indian Security Forces in different incidents in Shopian and Anantnag in IOK. Pakistan strongly reacted to the killings terming it the “inhuman face of Indian state-terrorism” against the Kashmiris. Meanwhile, Lt. General, A. K. Bhatt, who heads the Indian Forces in IOK termed the killings as a “major success” against “militants” saying, “It is a special day for our forces.” Calling it an “Indian propaganda,” Pakistan said India would not succeed in “misleading the world” by labelling the “legitimate Kashmir struggle as terrorism”. Following the killings, numerous Kashmiris took to the streets to protest against Indian Security Forces and hurled stones at the Indian Security personnel. Indian officers retaliated by firing pellet guns and rifles with live ammunition into the crowd. On April 5, 2018, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said that the UN was following the Kashmir situation “very closely”. In a separate incident on April 11, 2018, at least seven Kashmiris were killed in IOK prompting violent street clashes across the region.

MARCH 2018

On March 30, India and Pakistan mutually agreed, “to resolve matters related to the treatment of diplomats and diplomatic premises, in line with the 1992 Code of Conduct for treatment of Diplomatic and Consular personnel in India and Pakistan.”

The agreement was announced simultaneously by the Foreign Office and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Earlier on March 15, 2018, Pakistan called back its High Commissioner to New Delhi following the incidents of harassment of officials of the Pakistani High Commission and their family members in New Delhi. In response India alleged that its diplomats posted in Islamabad have also been facing harassment issues.



On March 29, the two-day meeting of Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) between India and Pakistan was held in New Delhi. The Pakistani side was led by Indus Water Commissioner, Muhammad Mehar Ali whereas the Indian side was led by India’s Indus Water Commissioner, PK Saxena.

The PIC is a bilateral commission for implementing the goals of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). Pakistan has serious reservations on designs of some of India’s hydropower projects including Ratle (850MW), Pakal Dul (1,000MW) and Lower Kalnai (48MW) projects located in the Chenab basin and Kishanganga dam and Wullar Barrage on the Jhelum river. Pakistan insists that the designs of these projects have violated the IWT. India, however, maintains that the designs are in line with the Treaty.



Addressing a media briefing on March 28, DG Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General, Asif Ghafoor warned India not to destabilise Pakistan through Afghanistan or the Line of Control (LoC), adding that efforts to promote instability in Pakistan would not go in India’s favour. He vowed that Pakistan would fully respond to any provocation from India.

The DG ISPR clarified that the so called “Bajwa Doctrine” had nothing to do with politics, especially the 18th Amendment and the judiciary and said, “If there is a Bajwa Doctrine per se, its scope is limited to the security of Pakistan.” Ghafoor also said that the existence of the doctrine was first mentioned by him during a televised interview earlier in 2018, in which he said that the doctrine seeks to make Pakistan a weapon-free, terror-free and progressive country as it was before 9/11.” Earlier in March 2018, a debate evolved in the country after media reports speculated that various facets of the Bajwa doctrine included political as well as governance and economic related matters besides security issues.



On March 17, Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh termed Indian Occupied Kashmir an integral part of India saying “Kashmir is with India and Kashmir will remain with India forever.

He also warned Pakistan saying, “We not only secure India within but can also cross the border to protect the country, if needed.” Meanwhile, during an interview to Gulf News on March 18, 2018, Pakistan’s Military spokesman, Major General Asif Ghafoor reiterated that peace with India is only possible after resolving the Kashmir dispute. Rajnath Singh also said the Indian government was keen on finding a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue and was open to speaking to anyone. He said the government-appointed interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma is moving forward and has invited Kashmiris from all sections for talks. However, Pakistan has rejected India’s decision to designate government-appointed interlocutor to initiate dialogue with the Kashmiri people insisting that any dialogue process on Kashmir has to include Pakistan. Pakistan maintains that the Kashmir dispute should be resolved in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.



According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office on March 15, Pakistan called back Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi “for consultations” following the incidents of harassment of officials of the Pakistani High Commission and their family members in New Delhi.

Earlier on March 13, 2018, Pakistan’s Foreign Office also summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner, J. P. Singh to register a protest over the incidents. Foreign Office emphasised that under the Vienna Convention, the safety and the security of Pakistani diplomats and their families was the responsibility of the Indian government. According to the Foreign Office, the officers, staff and the families and children of the Pakistani diplomats in India continue to face “intense harassment, intimidation and violence from Indian state agencies”. The Pakistan High Commission also released a video, showing a Pakistani diplomat’s car being blocked by unidentified persons in New Delhi. India, however, alleged that its diplomats posted in Islamabad have been facing similar harassment and claimed that members of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had raided the Indian residential compound in Islamabad earlier in February, 2018.



Speaking at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Switzerland on March 9, Pakistan’s Deputy Permanent Representative, Tahir Andrabi called on India to stop killing Kashmiri civilians and allow access to the UN fact-finding team to investigate human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Andrabi said that at the heart of the Kashmir problem was the right to self-determination which was conceded by “the first Prime Minister of India” and by the UN Security Council through a plebiscite. Responding to Pakistan’s concern, Mini Devi Kumam, Second Secretary at India’s UN Mission in Geneva termed Pakistan a “failed state” and demanded that Pakistan bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai, Pathankot and Uri attacks to justice. Kumum also said that Pakistan continues to refer to UNSC Resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. She stressed that Pakistan “very conveniently forgets its own obligation under these resolutions to first vacate the occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.”



On March 5, protests involving stone-pelting erupted across Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) after Indian troops killed six Kashmiri civilians in the Shopian district of IOK.

Indian Security Forces claimed that all those killed were ‘militants’ or their associates. However, both locals and the Joint Resistance Group (JRL) allege that they were non combatants. IOK Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti said she was “deeply distressed” by the civilian deaths. In a separate incident on March 1, 2018, two people were killed by Indian shelling in Azad Jammu and Kashmir(AJK). Clashes between India and Pakistan on the LoC continue to increase. According to the Pakistan Army on March 6, 2018, it shot down an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle that had intruded into Azad Kashmir from across the LoC on a spy mission.



According to Dawn on March 2, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) expressed concerns over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘no talks’ policy with Pakistan and called for an early resumption of dialogue with Islamabad.

The CPI-M said that “The Modi government’s policy towards Pakistan has reached a dead end.” It also said that “Despite all its bluster and nationalistic posturing on Kashmir, the Modi government must realise that a dialogue with Pakistan is an essential part of arriving at a political settlement on the Jammu & Kashmir issue.” There is a complete stalemate between India and Pakistan since August 2015, when the Indian government called off the dialogue with Pakistan, insisting that there could be no talks until alleged cross-border terrorism stops. Pakistan maintains that whenever there will be talks, Kashmir would top the agenda.

FEBRUARY 2018

On February 12, 2018, IOK Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti called for talks with Pakistan saying “there is no alternative”.



On February 11, at least 5 Indian soldiers and a civilian were killed following a two-day gun battle between an alleged member of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Indian troops at the Sunjwan military base in Jammu in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Indian Army Chief, Bipin Rawat, visited Jammu to review the operation. He also held meetings with his commanders. Meanwhile, Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman accused Pakistan for the attack saying, “these terrorists were controlled by their handlers from across the border”. She said JeM Chief, Masood Azhar was the mastermind of the attack, adding however, that the attackers possibly had local support as well. She also accused Pakistan of resorting to ceasefire violations at the LoC to assist infiltration and said that Pakistan would “pay for this misadventure”. In response, Pakistan’s Defence Minister, Khurram Dastgir warned that any aggression from New Delhi would not go “unpunished” and would be met with an “equal and proportionate response”. He also told the Senate on February 14, 2018, that the hostile, anti-Pakistan stance by the Indian government has “drastically reduced the space for any advocacy of peace”.



On February 5, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reiterated full support to “the just and legitimate right of the Kashmiri people for the peaceful resolution of the issue in line with their aspirations.

The Prime Minister was addressing a joint session of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly and Kashmir Council on Kashmir Solidarity Day.

 

JANUARY 2018

On January 13, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif denounced as “irresponsible” remarks by Indian Army Chief, Bipin Rawat in which he said that his force was ready to call Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and cross the border if the government asked them.

The Foreign Minister also warned that the Indian Army Chief’s statement “amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter.” Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Army spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan has ‘a credible nuclear capability, exclusively meant for threat from East.” Pakistan maintains that the country’s tactical nuclear missile, Hatf-IX has deterred India from carrying out a limited conventional attack under its “Cold Start” doctrine.



On January 25, the Monitoring Team of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 1267 Sanctions Committee visited Pakistan to monitor measures taken by the government against organisations listed on the UN’s terror watch list.

The UN Sanctions Committee was briefed about steps being taken by Pakistan in compliance with the UN sanctions. According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office, the team’s visit was a routine matter. However, in recent months, the US has mounted pressure on Pakistan to prosecute Hafiz Saeed, the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). Media reports claimed that the UN team most likely pressured Pakistan to act against Saeed. Earlier in January 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), “prohibited all companies from donating cash to the entities and individuals listed under the UNSC sanctions committee’s consolidated list.”



On January 18, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson, Dr. Muhammad Faisal said that Pakistan has taken a serious note against the ‘Free Karachi’ advertising campaign in Washington and New York, insisting that the US has assured that it fully respects Pakistan’s territorial integrity.

The development came after a US newspaper, The Washington Times advertised the demand for a “Free Karachi”. The advertisement was also displayed on billboards and cabs in both New York and Washington. Previously similar advertisements demanding a free Balochistan had appeared in London and Geneva.



Dawn reported on January 1, that the National Security Advisor (NSA) of Pakistan, Nasir Khan Janjua, held talks with India’s NSA, Ajit Doval in Bangkok earlier on December 26, 2017.

However, the two countries did not give any official statement about the meeting. Earlier on December 18, 2017, addressing a national security seminar in Islamabad, the Pakistani NSA had said, “the possibility of nuclear war cannot be ruled out.” According to media reports, in the meeting with Doval, Nasir Janjua raised the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and targeting of civilians along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Kashmir. Meanwhile, the Indian NSA raised the issue of alleged infiltration of militants into Occupied Kashmir from across the (LoC).

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