Pakistan leaders term surgical strikes ‘ludicrous’, back PM on Kashmir (Third Lead)

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Islamabad, Oct 3 (IANS) Pakistan political parties on Monday put aside their sharp differences to unanimously back Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the Kashmir issue and termed the recent Indian claims of surgical strikes as “ludicrous”.

Chaired by Prime Minister Sharif, the meeting, attended by almost all political party heads, discussed the security situation with special focus on the Kashmir situation and Indian troops’ “unprovoked” firing along the Line of Control (LoC).

Sharif, assisted by senior members of the Cabinet, said “their (Kashmiris’) struggle for self-determination was legitimate and in accordance with UN resolutions”.

“Kashmiris and Pakistanis are inseparable. We will leave no stone unturned to highlight Kashmiris’ plight across all international forums,” Sharif said, adding that “we stand united on matters of national importance, particularly Kashmir,” he told the meeting of parliamentary leaders.

Briefing those present, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary said: “Pakistan wants peace and Kashmir and other bilateral issues should be discussed with India.”

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The Foreign Secretary denied the Indian claim of surgical strikes across the Line of Control and dismissed New Delhi’s allegations against Islamabad regarding the September 18 attack at an army camp in Uri town of Kashmir, which left 19 security personnel dead.

The parliamentary leaders shortly after the meeting ended, in a joint statement, declared that the entire nation stands together when it comes to the Kashmir issue and Indian “aggression”.

The joint statement said: “We reject ludicrous Indian claims of carrying out surgical strike across the LoC, as blatantly false and brazen attempts.”

They also condemned the recent “unprovoked” Indian “aggression” and repeated ceasefire violations.

The leaders deplored Indian efforts to shift the focus from its “brutal atrocities” to suppress the “indigenous uprising” of the Kashmiri people, to “false” claims of terrorism across the LoC.

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Criticising New Delhi’s bid to revisit the Indus Waters treaty and curtail water to Islamabad, the statement said the proposed move was a “flagrant violation of its international treaty”.

“We condemn the stated intent by India to use water as a weapon against the people, not only of Pakistan but of the region.”

The leaders also regretted the Indian “designs” to scuttle all diplomatic efforts for bilateral and multilateral dialogue, including the refusal to engage constructively at the Saarc forum.

Monday’s meeting marked a rare coming together of Pakistan’s political parties. It was nearly after two years that the Pakistan opposition parties were meeting at an all-party meeting and passed a joint statement.

Earlier on July 15, a special meeting of the cabinet had decided to convene a joint session of Parliament on the Kashmir situation. However, the plan was quietly shelved due to growing tensions between the government and the Opposition.

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But the uptick in hostilities with India has prompted calls from political parties for a joint session of Parliament. “Now, the onus is on the Opposition which has called for convening the parliamentary session,” a senior PML-N leader said.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have soared after the terror attack in Uri town. India has responded with surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads across the LoC.

Pakistan has rejected that such strikes have taken place.

After blaming Pakistan for the September 18 Uri attack, India this month initiated a diplomatic drive to isolate Pakistan by opting out of the Saarc summit that was to be held in Islamabad in November. The summit was eventually postponed.



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