ISLAMABAD - China believes the ongoing Pakistan-India skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary had the potential to disturb the regional peace, senior officials here said citing recent communications with Beijing.

China is the only powerful country that has stood with Pakistan during the unrelenting tension with India as other influential nations chose to issue only “diplomatic statements”.

Pakistan also received realistic support from Russia after Moscow started to take Islamabad as a friend amid improving ties.

The United States remained mainly on India’s side but fell short of abandoning Pakistan.

Washington has been calling for dialogue between the two countries, while simultaneously asking Pakistan to be sterner in its anti-terror fight.

A senior official at the foreign ministry told The Nation, China was concerned over the defiance of India and feared this could escalate into a war.

 “They are worried over violations by India on a daily basis, which could hurt regional peace,” he said.

The official said Beijing had promised to stand by Islamabad in any eventuality – diplomatically, and practically.

On Sunday, Pakistan accused Indian army of opening unprovoked fire across the LoC and targeting the civilian population.

The firing occurred in Battal sector of Rawalakot and continued for several hours.

No loss of life was reported, said the military.

India has violated the ceasefire more than 100 times this year alone.

Pakistan and India declared ceasefire along the LoC and the Working Boundary in 2003.

But both accuse each other of violating the ceasefire as tensions between the two countries have worsened since last month.

The escalation has caused civilian casualties.

Earlier, Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif said armed forces would defend every inch of the motherland at every cost.

He said: “India’s real face is exposed as it is supporting terrorism in Pakistan and creating tension on the border through unprovoked firing along the Working Boundary and the LoC.”

On Sunday, Pakistan again called upon the United Nations to dispatch a fact-finding mission to the occupied Kashmir to check Indian atrocities.

In a meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein in New York, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said India’s rejection to allow fact-finding mission is in fact an acknowledgment of the grave atrocities being committed by its occupation forces.

Separately Minister for Kashmir Affairs Chaudhry Barjees Tahir said Kashmiris would succeed in their struggle for right to self-determination.

In a statement, he said that the Indian brutalities would not make the Kashmiris abandon their freedom movement.   

The foreign ministry official said China had also been in contact with India seeking to end the LoC and working boundary violations to maintain regional peace.

 “They are convinced India is playing with the fire. This could result in anything, even a full-fledged war,” he added.

Another official said Pakistan had been in contact with India through the back-channels and asking them to review their policy of irritating the neighbours.

“India is just trying to divert international attention from Kashmir. There is no other reason for escalating tensions,” he maintained.

Defence analyst Lt-Gen Moeenuddin Haider (retd) said Pakistan had the capability and political will to respond to any Indian aggression but war was not in favour of any country or the region.

 “India wants war but forgets it will only be destructive for the region as a whole. Pakistan will not sit silent, if India attacks or violates the LoC,” he said.

Haider, a former interior minister, said Pakistan’s armed forces were well-prepared to defeat any attack.

“Pakistan and our best friend China have been raising voices for peace,” he said.

World affairs expert Dr Talat Wizarat said it was high time for India to realise that it was violating human rights in Kashmir.

“India is firing across the LoC only to hide its illegitimate occupation in Kashmir and the atrocities on the unarmed Kashmiris,” she added.

Dr Wizarat expressed disappointment over the involvement of Indian intelligence agencies’ officials in subversive activities in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee condemned Indian atrocities in Kashmir.

In a statement, the committee urged the United Nations to play its due role in granting Kashmiris their right to self-determination.

It said Kashmiris’ freedom struggle will soon reap its fruit and India cannot suppress their movement through use of power. 

The committee said freedom was the fundamental right of the followers of every religion.

It said the people’ struggling for their right of independence are not terrorists.