Islamabad - Condemning Indian aggression on the LoC and Working Boundary, Foreign Office spokesperson Thursday claimed that New Delhi is trying to construct new bunkers along the Sialkot border in violation of 2010 agreement.

Addressing the weekly press briefing Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam however expressed optimism about peace on borders with Afghanistan and Iran. Violent incidents with Iran are not similar to those with India, she said.

About the situation on eastern border the spokesperson said, “According to the agreement, India and Pakistan cannot carryout constructions within 500 metres of the Working Boundary (border between Pakistan and Indian-held Kashmir near Sialkot)”

Tasnim said India was targeting the civilian population on the Line of Control and Working Boundary in clear violation of the ceasefire agreement, adding that Islamabad has highlighted the issue of ‘unprovoked’ Indian firing at the United Nations and other fora.

Responding a question she affirmed that UN has the responsibility to make UNMOGIP more effective to deal with the ceasefire violations on LoC and Working Boundary. She was of the view that because of Kashmiri brothers and sisters on the other side of the LoC, Pakistan has always given measured response to Indian unprovoked firing and shelling on the civilians.

She said Indian forces targeting civilian population to construct bunkers on their side. “Pakistani troops responded to stop the illegal activity.”

Commenting on situation on Iran border, the spokesperson said “Pakistan’s disputes with India are on fundamental issues, which need to be resolved through negotiations”, but Pakistan and Iran enjoy strong multifaceted relations.

Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan and Iran have a long border and are engaged to evolve effective counter terrorism measures to avoid violence. She went on to say that the recent meeting between border forces’ chiefs in Tehran deliberated on different ways to improve border surveillance so that irritants could be removed.

On Afghanistan, the spokesperson sounded upbeat that new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani would soon visit Pakistan in response to the formal invitation extended to him by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz.

She said, “Sartaj Aziz’s meeting with new Afghan President in Kabul was very positive as both sides have a strong desire to transform their partnership into economic relations... There are many areas which can be tapped to further our ties. There is a thought of connecting Central Asia with Pakistan through Kabul and recently CASA-1000 agreement is a major step forward. Both countries are focusing on these lines to transform their partnership, which is healthy sign.”

Commenting on reconciliation process in Afghanistan, she reiterated Pakistan’s stance that it is ready to extend all possible support to Kabul in an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process, asserting that Pakistan is not supporting any single group in Afghanistan.

On Pakistan’s growing relations with Russian federation, the spokesperson remarked “our ties are moving in an upward trajectory”, as both countries under strategic dialogue hold meetings time and again to discuss all areas, including trade and investment, security and other regional issues. Answering a question about Malala Yousafzai’s visit to Pakistan, she said the Nobel peace prize winner can visit her homeland whenever she wants.

She said that PM Nawaz Sharif is likely to attend the SAARC summit to be held between Nov 26 and 27, adding that the summit will be preceded by the Council of Ministers meeting and the senior officials meeting. Asked whether there was any chance of PM’s meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the summit, she said no readout have been given out for any bilateral meeting that will take place.

INDIA CONTINUES FIRING ON SIALKOT BORDER VILLAGES

Staff Reporter from Sialkot adds: The Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) on Thursday resorted to unprovoked firing on Sialkot border villages, Charwah, Dhamaala, Rangors, Bhagiyaari and surroundings in Charwah and Shakargarh sectors of Sialkot Working Boundary.

It was the second day of fresh spell of Indian firing on the Sialkot border villages. On Wednesday, Indian Border Security Forces also targeted the civilian population in the villages in Charwah Sector.

According to senior officials of the Chenab Rangers, the Indian BSF targeted the civilian population in Sialkot border villages in Charwah and Shakargarh sectors with small weapons, violating the ceasefire accord. Indian firing continued for about half an hour intermittently Thursday morning. The Indian bullets hit the houses of the local people and damaged several houses in this fresh spell of Indian firing with small weapons.

The Chenab Rangers retaliated in a befitting manner, silencing the Indian guns, the officials of Chenab Rangers added. No loss of life or any injury was reported; they confirmed.