ISLAMABAD  - The National Security Committee on Friday discussing situation arising out of unprovoked firing by the Indian security forces across LoC emphasised the fact that both countries are aware of each other’s capabilities and war is not an option.

The committee meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, noted that it was shared responsibility of the leadership of both countries to immediately diffuse the situation and that Pakistan’s humbleness should not be taken as weakness.

The committee meeting was attended by ministers of interior and information, adviser to PM on national security and foreign affairs, chiefs of Army, Naval and Air Staff and other senior civil and military officials. The NSC made it clear that Pakistan’s earnest desire for normalising bilateral relations and defusing the situation should not be seen as a sign of weakness as it’s in fact a sign of maturity and sincerity. The armed forces assured the supreme security body that they are fully prepared to deal with any adversity at the borders.

The NSC meeting expressed the hope that both countries would respect the ceasefire agreement of 2003 and maintain tranquillity on the Line of Control in Kashmir and the Sialkot Working Boundary, without indulging in blame-game and point-scoring. It also expressed the resolve that any attempt to challenge Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty will be responded with full force.

Any further escalation will only complicate the environment for meaningful discussion on the Kashmir issue and adversely affect the broader objective of regional cooperation, the meeting noted. The committee noted with deep concern that the continuing ceasefire violations by Indian forces had led to loss of precious lives and injuries to innocent people and our brave soldiers.

Sadly, the unprovoked violations of ceasefire by the Indian Security Forces occurred in total disregard of the auspicious and festive occasion of Eidul Azha, it was informed. The committee offered condolences to the bereaved families of the 13 civilians and sympathies with the injured people. It also commended the valiant Jawans, who bravely and duly responded to the aggression.

The NSC expressed its full confidence in the capability of the armed forces to defend the country against any aggression and safeguard the territorial integrity of Pakistan. It was also noted that the government of Pakistan has pursued a policy of peaceful relations with all its neighbours.

Initiation of peace dialogue of the 1990s, and more recently, participation of the Prime Minister in Prime Minister Modi’s oath-taking ceremony are a manifestation of Pakistan’s sincere desire to constructively engage India to establish durable peace in the region. The committee expressed its disappointment that the sincerity demonstrated by Pakistan has not been reciprocated.

It was stated that abrupt cancellation of the Foreign Secretary-level talks by India and refusal to resume the dialogue process are a setback to Pakistan’s efforts to establish good neighbourly relations. The present situation on the LoC and Working Boundary (WB) is a further blow to these efforts. The committee noted that these developments have not only disappointed the people in Pakistan and India but the international community too has shared this disappointment. The committee further noted with regret the irresponsible statements made at the political level in India, in the backdrop of the situation at the LOC and WB.

Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed satisfaction over the successful continuation of Zarb-e-Azb operation in North Waziristan to flush out terrorists. He said those who offered sacrifice of their lives for the safe future of Pakistan must be rewarded. He expressed his deep sympathies and condolences with the bereaved families.

He said the army is already taking care of the families but the government on its part is ready to extend every possible relief to them. He termed his visit to Miranshah and meeting with army Jawans and officers as a moving experience. He said the personnel under the leadership of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif have done a marvellous job in the war against terrorism.

The PM also assured to provide all out relief and assistance to the internally displaced persons (IDPs). Senior military officials briefed the meeting on prevailing security situation. Earlier, the chief of army staff, naval chief and adviser on foreign affairs separately met with the prime minister and discussed matters pertaining to national security.