ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday said India was spreading war hysteria in the region by continuously violating the ceasefire along the Line of Control and Working Boundary.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, while speaking at his weekly news briefing, said Pakistan believed in peace and resolution of all issues with India through negotiations. “International community recognises that for regional peace and security, solution to Kashmir problem is imperative,” he said.

The spokesperson said the heightening of tension due to Indian immature and irresponsible behaviour had caused deep concerns among world leaders and multilateral forums like the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The Chinese offer to help resolve the Kashmir issue, he said, came after India’s continuous violations of the ceasefire.

Zakaria said India had been using Afghan soil against Pakistan. He referred to former US defence secretary Chuck Hagel’s statement in 2011 that India finances trouble in Pakistan, confessions of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and voluntary statement made by Jamaatul Ahrar’s spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan were sufficient evidence to prove that India was involved in terrorism, terror-financing and subversive activities in Pakistan. “I have seen reports wherein it was mentioned that a fully-funded special cell has been established within the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to specifically sabotage CPEC,” he said.

“The status of Held Kashmir is internationally recognised to be disputed through numerous resolutions of the UN Security Council. Pakistan has always urged India and the international community to implement the UN Security Council resolutions and hold a free and fair plebiscite,” he added.

He said rising extremism, religious intolerance and bigotry in India was a cause of international concern. “The sense of insecurity in minorities is increasing. The sharply increasing number of brutal deaths by cow vigilantes is a reflection of the escalating intolerance in India, which has made headlines in the international media,” he added.

Zakaria said the maltreatment of minorities was cause for international concern. “International human rights organizations have criticised the treatment of minorities and violation of their rights in India,” he said.

He said the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) had the mandate to monitor the ceasefire violations at the LoC and the Working Boundary in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. “Pakistan has always extended full cooperation to the UNMOGIP. On the contrary, India gives extremely limited access to it in Held Kashmir. In order to ensure peace and tranquility at the LoC, the mandate of the UNMOGIP is crucial,” Zakaria maintained.

He said the international community had rejected Indian propaganda of equating indigenous movement of Kashmiris for self-determination with terrorism.

To a question, he said Pakistan believed there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, so focus should be on a politically-negotiated settlement under an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. “We have constructively participated in all initiatives and forums for promoting peace, stability and reconciliation in Afghanistan and will continue to do that.”

Regarding the questions on US State Department’s report, he said, “I have several times responded about Pakistan’s efforts and successes in eradicating terrorism from our country. We are fully resolved to fight terrorism and have taken strong measures to this effect. Our efforts have been acknowledged by a number of countries, including the United States.”

The spokesperson said various delegations that came to Pakistan from the US and other countries had visited the affected areas which were cleansed from terrorism. “Terrorists are on the run. Most of them have fled to Afghanistan. A considerable number of leaders and senior commanders of Haqqani network and other terrorists have been killed inside Afghanistan,” Zakaria said.

He said Donald Trump administration’s policy review on Afghanistan was still incomplete. “We will only be able to comment once the contents of review are shared with us. The bill regarding funding restrictions is still under legislative process, therefore, it would be premature to comment on it,” Zakaria remarked.

“Pakistan wants to see peace and stability in Afghanistan, which we firmly believe is in Pakistan’s interest. We have always wholeheartedly supported all efforts to that end,” he said.

He said Pakistan continued to host millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades as sentiments of fraternity. Around 48,000 Afghan nationals, he said, had been educated in Pakistan are now working in Afghanistan. “Around one million children of the Afghan refugees are studying in our schools. During the last meeting in Brussels on reconstruction of Afghanistan, Pakistan pledged an additional $500 million,” the spokesperson said.

About ties with Iran, he said miscreants along the Pak-Iran border, including human and narcotics smugglers, continue to create problems for both the countries. “The border is not completely manned on all sectors. A high-level Pakistani delegation participated in the Higher Border Commission meeting at Tehran where they held deliberations on border-management-related issues. We will share the outcome in due course,” Zakaria said.

To a question, he said Pakistan had a clear policy on Palestine issue and supported a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the problem based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including agreed principles.

SHAFQAT ALI