Local commanders of the Pakistan and Indian armies made hotline contact on Monday night in the Rawalakot-Poonch sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in the wake of Indian allegations that Pakistani troops had killed and mutilated the bodies of two Indian soldiers.
A day earlier, the Indian army had alleged that Pakistani forces fired rockets and mortar bombs at two Indian posts across the LoC and mutilated the bodies of two of her soldiers in the patrol. The allegation was strongly refuted by the Pakistan army.
According to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan Army’s media affairs wing, the Pakistani local commander told his Indian counterpart that there had been no ceasefire violation or crossing of the LoC by Pakistani troops from the Pakistan side of the border nor mutilation of the bodies of Indian soldiers.
“Indian authorities were (also) told that there is unnecessary media hype following the allegations, and that Pakistan remains fully committed to maintain peace and tranquillity along the LoC and expects the same from the [India] side,” the ISPR statement added.
ISPR said the Pakistani commander expressed hope that prudence would be exercised across the divide and no steps taken that may affect peace along the LoC and lead to vitiating of the environment.
Routine DGMO hotline contact
During a routine weekly hotline contact between the director generals military operations (DGMO), the Pakistan Army rejected the “baseless and unfounded Indian allegations of mutilation of the bodies of Indian army by the Pakistan Army”.
The Pak DGMO asked his Indian counterpart to provide “actionable evidence” related to the incident and urged the Indian army to look inwards to probe the incident, the ISPR said.
Pakistan’s DGMO reiterated that neither a ceasefire violation had occurred in the specified sector, nor had Pakistani troops crossed the LoC.
The military’s media wing said that the Pakistani DGMO also highlighted that the Pakistan Army was a professional military outfit and upheld the highest standards of conduct.
“Allegations of mutilation are an Indian attempt to divert the attention of the world from the situation within the (Indian occupied Kashmir) valley,” the Pak DGMO told his Indian counterpart, according to the ISPR.
“We are fully committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LoC. However, any misadventure shall be appropriately responded at a place and time of own choosing,” the Pak DGMO cautioned his Indian counterpart.
The Indian army’s allegations come days after the Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the LoC in the Haji Pir sector of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated support to the just cause of the Kashmiris.
Haji Pir sector is in Haveli district and Battal sector is in its neighbouring Poonch district.
While referring to the atrocities in India-held Kashmir, Gen Bajwa had said that even though the people of Pakistan could not remain indifferent to the barbaric treatment meted out to the defenceless Kashmiris, Pakistan army would however keep its response purely in military domain in accordance with its values.
Situation along the LoC has been tense, notwithstanding a truce agreement signed by the two sides in November 2003, particularly after the last September’s attack by suspected militants on an Indian army base in Uri, which had left 18 Indian soldiers dead.
After the attack, India claimed that its troops had conducted surgical strikes across the LoC, but the claim was rejected by Pakistan.
Ever since a number of civilian and military casualties have occurred on both sides of the divide in cross-border shelling.
Interestingly, in January 2013, India had also made a similar allegation that Pakistani troops had killed and mutilated two of her soldiers in Mendhar sector but investigations by Pakistan army had found no evidence of the deaths.