Pakistan wants to formalise 2003 LoC ceasefire: Envoy

Bengaluru, Oct 30 (IANS) Pakistan wants India to formalise the understanding the heads of the two states reached in 2003 as an agreement to end ceasefire violations at the Line of Control, High Commissioner Abdul Basit said on Friday.

“As reiterated recently by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the United Nations General Assembly, we need to formalize the 2003 understanding our (then) president General Pervez Musharraf and (then) Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had on a ceasefire on the Line of Control,” Basit told reporters here.

The agreement proposal was part of the four-point formula Sharif had flagged in his UN address on September 30 to revive talks between the two countries and resume bilateral ties.

“We are waiting for the Indian government’s response to the four-point formula so as to stabilize the tense situation on the border and implement the ceasefire in letter and spirit to prevent violations from both sides,” said Basit, who is on a four-day visit to Karnataka, a first by a Pakistan envoy.

In view of the trust deficit between the two countries on many issues, especially on border firing, he urged posting a third party like the United Nations as an observer at the LoC to check who was violating the ceasefire and ensure peace.

“If you (India) say we are violating the ceasefire with unprovoked firing, we also have evidence of your troops doing the same 400 times so far in which about 40 of our people died,” Basit stressed.

Reiterating that Pakistan was keen to have good relations with India at all levels, especially between the people and promote cultural, trade and economic levels, he said both the countries should move from the past, stop blame-games and resolve all issues, including terrorism and Kashmir peacefully.

“As the people in both countries want peace and strong cultural, trade and economic ties, both the governments should work together to resolve all outstanding issues on the basis of agreements and understandings reached in the past since the Shimla agreement in 1972,” he urged.

Hoping that both the countries would soon resume dialogue and give shape to what was agreed upon by Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Russia’s Ufa on July 10, Basit said he discovered that people even in this city want both the countries get together soon and strive for peace and development.

“There is a strong desire for greater people-to-people contacts, economic cooperation, regional connectivity, trade promotion, tourist travel and increasing visits by relatives of citizens in both countries,” he added.

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