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Pak delays flag meet on LoC firing; Air Chief warns of other options

CNN-IBN
Jan 12, 2013 at 05:36pm IST

New Delhi: Even as there was no overnight firing reported on Saturday along the India-Pakistan border, tension remained. Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has warned of other options as Islamabad delayed a Brigadier-level flag meeting to bring down the tension. "What has been happening in the last few months is not acceptable. If this continues, perhaps we will have to look at other options for compliance of the set norms on the border," he said.

Sources had said that India requested for a Brigadier-level flag meet with Pakistan to de-escalate cross-border tensions. But Pakistan's response on the request was still awaited.

ALSO SEE Pak repeats its demand for neutral third party probe into firing at LoC

Meanwhile, Pakistan repeated its demand for a neutral probe into the firing along the Line of Control, but India again rejected it. "Whenever you are faced with this kind of a situation the factual position can only be ascertained if there is a neutral investigation into such incidents. But we hope, having said that, we hope that there will be no recurrence of such incidents, and that the other side also realises the consequences of such steps, such actions," Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani said.

This comes after Islamabad's tit for tat move of summoning the Indian High Commissioner on Friday to lodge a protest over the alleged killing of its soldier.

ALSO SEE LoC killings: Pakistan reiterates commitment to peace process

India replied its firing was a controlled response to Pakistan's attack in which two soldiers were killed. No firing was reported overnight at the border on Friday-Saturday. "There was no ceasefire violation from Pakistan side along Indo-Pak border in Poonch sector today ", Defence spokesperson, Col RK Palta, told PTI. He said tension is prevailing along the Indo-Pak border but the situation is under control.

Asked about the reports of firing from across the border by Pakistani troops on Indian posts along LoC in Poonch, he said there was no firing. With the exchanges of shelling and firing after continued violations of ceasefire by Pakistani troops and shutting of cross-LoC trade by Pakistan Army on Friday, tension further highened along Indo-Pak border as Army troops had been put on alert.

ALSO SEE Maintain sanctity of LoC, India tells Pakistan

"The border with Pakistan is tense but the situation is under control (along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir", the Army official said. The Army is maintaining utmost vigilance along the border with Pakistsan, he said.

Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire by firing mortars shells and from small arms on Indian posts along LoC in Krishnagati sector of Poonch district from 5 PM to 9.30 PM on Thursday, the Defence spokesman said. Indian troops had effectively retaliated, resulting in the exchange of fire, he said adding there was no casuality or injury to any one in the Pak firing.

India blamed Pakistan for the aggression. MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, "The Indian envoy said there was unprovoked firing from the Pakistan side in Mendhar sector and that there was controlled response from the Indian side."

A week of ceasefire violations has left four soldiers dead - two each on both sides. Despite both governments speaking the language of restraint, tensions are not abating, which is why there is real concern in government quarters in New Delhi about a slide in bilateral ties, which the government wants to stem at the earliest.

India trying to destabilise Pakistan, Kashmir violence may turn 'ugly': Hafiz Saeed

Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai massacre, said India was trying to destabilise Pakistan and predicted violence in Kashmir could get "ugly". "We do not want any force to be used or any military operation for this. But the Indians are opting for the other alternative," Hafez Saeed told Reuters in a telephone interview on Friday.

In fact, he also pointed an accusatory finger at Indian intelligence agencies for the Thursdays twin blasts in Blaochistan which left over 100 dead.

The BJP reacted saying the government must respond to Hafiz Saeed's statements. "Hafiz Saeed is synonymous with terror and unfortunately he is an important part of the Pakistani establishment. The government of India needs to pull up its socks and international pressure must be brought upon the Pakistan government to treat Saeed as a war criminal and he should be brought to justice," BJP leader Balbir Punj said.

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