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Pakistan denies involvement of troops in LoC incidents

Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir on Wednesday denied the involvement of the Pakistan Army in the multiple incidents along the Line of Control (LoC), which have occurred in the past eight days, adding that talks are the only constructive way forward for both countries. “It is very difficult for me, or anyone else in Pakistan, to explain how this incident was presented.

We fully believe that the Pakistan Army has no kind of involvement in these incidents. It must be looked at with an open mind,” Bashir said. Commenting on the prospect of pursuing talks between the two countries, Bashir said that Pakistan was still hopeful of continuing them as it was the only productive way forward for both countries. “Pakistan has reiterated at many points that we want peace.

We want the situation along the LoC to normalize. We want that the ceasefire is respected and upheld. …We both have a responsibility for peace and stability and, in present conditions; we both have a responsibility to ensure that ceasefire is respected on both sides of the Line of Control. … I can only say that our Prime Minister has very recently, again, has expressed his desire that he is looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New York. So, I think we still have some time in between and both sides should work towards creating conditions conducive for a meeting,” Bashir said. “There is no alternative to talks because it is the only civilized way out. …It is in the national interest of our country and the whole situation,” Bashir added. The relationship between India and Pakistan has been strained since August 6, when the Pakistan Army ambushed six Indian soldiers in Poonch District of Jammu and Kashmir.

Additionally, Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the LoC on multiple occasions in the past week. Though Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in September in New York, the recent incidents along the LoC have cast a looming doubt over talks continuing between the two countries. On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had said that the air of anger, disappointment and disquiet needs to be cleared before India can pursue talks with Pakistan, in the light of the multiple incidents along the border.

"I think the air needs to get clear before we can start giving clear responses to many, many things which are half done and that were in the pipeline. Today is not the day. I think we first need to get back to normal and there are steps to be taken on the other side -- on the Pakistani side -- before we can start addressing these issues (decisions regarding talks)," Khurshid said. Khurshid also said that India cannot pursue talks until and unless there is an atmosphere of peace and harmony along the LoC which, he said, is of utmost importance given the incidents of the past week. "We should have a satisfaction that there is a peaceful atmosphere in which we can consider different dimensions of our relationship. ...We are still in a state of shock and a state of grieving, this is no time to talk what might happen in the future. When the time comes, I am sure that will be addressed," Khurshid added. (ANI)

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