ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented move, Pakistan has invited Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia for a visit to areas along the Line of Control (LoC) to dispel New Delhi’s claims of destroying alleged terror camps in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
A foreign office source said Ahluwalia, who is the acting Indian high commissioner in Pakistan, has been invited along with other heads of diplomatic missions to give them a first-hand account of the ground situation at the LoC.
Diplomatic sources told The Express Tribune that the Indian high commission was currently considering Pakistan’s invitation and would likely inform the Foreign Office later on Monday evening.
Pakistan inviting an Indian envoy to tour its side of the LoC would always be a major development but the move holds even greater significance at a time when tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors are at a peak.
DG ISPR rebuffs Indian army chief’s claim of destroying Azad Kashmir ‘camps’
Islamabad’s move comes a day after nine Indian soldiers were killed and several others injured as Pakistan Army “effectively responded” to India’s unprovoked ceasefire violations along the LoC in which five innocent civilians were martyred.
Following Sunday’s violent exchange, the Foreign Office had categorically rejected Indian media reports regarding “so-called launchpads” being targeted by Indian forces along the LoC.
SA & Saarc Director General Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned Ahluwalia to register a protest over the unprovoked ceasefire violations.
“The Indian occupation forces, along the LoC and Working Boundary, have continuously been targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy calibre mortars, and automatic weapons,” read an FO statement.
“Heinous Indian targeting of civilians is a typical attempt by India to divert international attention from the humanitarian nightmare in IOJ&K [Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir],” it added.
As for the targeting of “so-called launchpads”, Pakistan called upon the five permanent United Nations members, or P5, to press New Delhi for proof and concrete information.
Islamabad also conveyed its willingness to arrange a visit of P5 diplomats to the alleged locations “to expose Indian falsehood”.
Late on Sunday night, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor also issued a statement rejecting India’s assertions.
“The statement of Indian COAS claiming destruction of three alleged camps in AJK is disappointing as he holds a very responsible position. There are no camps let alone targeting them. The Indian embassy is welcome to take any foreign diplomat/media to prove it on ground,” he said.
“The propensity of false claims by senior Indian military leadership, especially since the Pulwama incident, is detrimental to peace in the region. Such false claims by Indian Army are being made to suit vested interests. This is against professional military ethics.”