LoC firing: UN body yet to find merit in Pakistan claims

RSTV Bureau
ceasefire_man

A damaged building after mortar shelling by Pakistan forces in Jammu region. Photo – PTI

In a major setback to Pakistan, an investigation carried by the UN body on its allegation of unprovoked firing by India on the LoC has come to no conclusion. UN Military Observer Group on India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which was on a ‘fact finding mission’ over the claims levelled by Pakistan, is of view that no conclusions can be drawn at this stage. However, UNMOGIP could file reports on its observations.

“There are no conclusions to share at this stage…there’s nothing to report back, but, of course, it will file reports, if necessary, on the work has seen,” UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon’s deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq told the press.

Pakistan had last week lodged a complaint against India with the UNMOGIP for the alleged ceasefire violations along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. Acting on the complaint alleged by the Pakistan authorities, the UNMOGIP officers had visited the affected villages near Sialkot.

It is not for the first time when Pakistan had approached the UNMOGIP. While India, on its part, has been maintaining that the UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC).

Last week saw the heightened tension between the two neighbours with Indian authorities lodging a strong protest with Pakistan over the repeated ceasefire violations by its forces.

A woman shows a mortar shell recovered from a residential area after it was allegedly fired from Pakistan's side in Gharna village at the India-Pakistan International border in RS Pura sector about 40 km from Jammu

A woman shows a mortar shell recovered from a residential area after it was allegedly fired from Pakistan’s side in Gharna village at the India-Pakistan International border in RS Pura sector about 40 km from Jammu

The Indian authorities have maintained that it was Pakistan army which violated the ceasefire understanding with the Pakistani Rangers targeting five border outposts (BoPs) and even some civilian areas in Jammu and Kashmir. More than ten people, including BSF jawans, were left injured and an old woman was killed in the Pakistan Rangers firing and mortar shellings.

But Pakistan, on the other hand, claimed that the ceasefire violation was initiated from the Indian side and approached the UN body. The UN has long maintained an institutional presence in the contested area between India and Pakistan.

According to the Security Council mandate given in a 1971 resolution, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the LoC and border between the South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations. UNMOGIP currently comprises 42 military observers and a number of civilian staff members.

(With inputs from the PTI)