Islamabad: Pakistan will stick to a policy of non-escalation with India in the wake of increased tensions over a string of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, its Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said. In the face of a call from Pakistan's leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for a "befitting" response to "propaganda from the Indian government" over the ceasefire violations, Khar reiterated her government's "commitment not to escalate the situation."
Pakistan is striving to normalise the situation and the government was not "delusional" about the challenges to the country's sovereignty, she told the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament late Monday night. The government had resorted to available mechanisms to address the ceasefire violations on the LoC, she said.
"Pakistan acted responsibly. We suggested engaging the UN Military Observers Group (for India and Pakistan) for a third party probe," Khar told the House in a policy statement on the situation on the LoC. Recent incidents on the LoC marked the worst violations of the truce put in place in late 2003. Two Indian soldiers were killed while Pakistan claimed three of its soldiers died.
Khar claimed that India had "provoked the situation" but Pakistan showed a responsible attitude. Khar said the situation needs to be de-escalated as war-mongering is not accepted as mature behaviour.
Pakistan had offered a third-party probe as it always used dialogue to normalise ties with India, she added. The foreign minister said it would have been irresponsible if Pakistan had responded in the same manner as India. The Foreign Office summoned the Indian envoy to send out a message that "provocation and war-mongering" is not responsible conduct, she contended.
Khar also claimed that there were "immense discrepancies" in statements issued by the Indian External Affairs Ministry, Army Chief and government on the situation along the LoC. "A successful and independent foreign policy...means to be proactive to lead the way to move ahead with normalisation of relations with India and all of our neighbours for our own" sake and stability, she said.
India and Pakistan had seen that 60 years of hostility and "blame game, war-mongering and escalation" had not helped the people of both countries, she said. The government, opposition parties and all political forces were unanimously of the view that Pakistan should have normal relations with India and other States, she added.
Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Pakistan and India need to be responsible as both are nuclear powers. "We desire peace with respect and honour. Peace is not a one-way street," he said.