Publication Date : Friday 30 September 2016 12:03
Pakistan says it has briefed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council of the escalating tensions with India in an attempt to avert a potential “crisis.”
Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said on Thursday that she had met with Gerard van Bohemen, who is New Zealand’s UN ambassador and the president of the UN’s 15-member Security Council for September, briefing him of the tensions with India.
“I brought to his attention the dangerous situation that is building up in our region as a result of Indian provocation,” Lodhi said, adding, “Our call to the international community is avert a crisis before there is one.”
‘Watch this space! Danger up ahead!’
Tensions have been growing between Pakistan and India ever since New Delhi said it had conducted “surgical strikes” against what it said were militant positions across the de facto borderline dividing the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday night.
Pakistan said so “surgical” strikes had been conducted, however, and that it had only received cross-border fire that killed two of its soldiers.
“Pakistan is showing maximum restraint but there are limits to our restraint if India continues with provocations,” Lodhi said, stressing, “Right now, our effort is just to tell everyone ‘this is what’s happened so far, watch this space because it’s a very dangerous space.’”
Elsewhere in her remarks Lodhi said that she will discuss the ongoing tensions with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday, too.
Another source of tension between India and Pakistan was a September 18 attack on an army base in Kashmir, which left 17 Indian soldiers dead. New Delhi accused Pakistani-based militants of being behind the attack. Islamabad has vehemently denied the accusations.
The two countries have fought four wars, three of which were over Kashmir. Recent tensions risk sparking another military conflict.
Indian soldier captured in Pakistan
Meanwhile, in another incident that would certainly further tensions, Pakistan has captured an Indian soldier on its side of the disputed Kashmir border on Thursday.
An Indian army official based in New Delhi confirmed the arrest but said the soldier had “inadvertently” stepped into Pakistani territory.
“It is confirmed one soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons has inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control,” the official said, adding however that such incidents were routine by nationals from both countries and they would normally return the straying individuals.
In a related development, a Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Thursday that India was trying to divert attention away from the ongoing crackdown in Kashmir.
“India is desperate to divert the international community’s attention from the atrocities and blatant human rights violations being committed by the Indian occupation forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir on defenseless Kashmiri Muslims,” Mohammed Nafees Zakaria said.
“During the last 83 days, Indian occupation forces have murdered more than 100 innocent Kashmiris, including children, women and young men, caused injuries to the eyes of over 800 through use of pellet guns, blinding many hundreds either completely or partially, and injured more than 12,000 people,” the spokesperson said, referring to the unrest in the region.
He described the killings as “genocide.”
Tensions erupted in Kashmir when mass protests began over the killing of a pro-independence figure in early July. Tens of thousands of Indian government troops have been deployed to Indian-administered Kashmir and over 80 people have lost their lives in the ensuing crackdown.
Kashmir lies at the heart of almost 70 years of hostility between India and Pakistan. Both neighbors claim the region in full, but have partial control over it.