Wednesday Apr 15, 2020
With continuous ceasefire violations by Indian security forces along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary in the backdrop, a top UN diplomat has urged both New Delhi and Islamabad to show restraint, saying the world has to collectively focus its attention on the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
The comment from Jose Singer, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic and current President of the UN Security Council, came after several residents of Azad Kashmir were injured as a result of unprovoked Indian targeting of civilians.
“We urge both sides, India and Pakistan, to refrain from any hostilities, now more than ever, and in line with the appeal by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres for a global ceasefire in the wake of the pandemic,” Singer said in a written response to Indian newspaper The Hindu.
Singer said he was commenting in his capacity as the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic at the Security Council, as the UN body is yet to discuss the latest round of tensions.
Pakistan had on Monday summoned an Indian official to protest cross-border shelling from its eastern neighbour that had killed a child and wounded four civilians.
“This year, India has so far committed 749 ceasefire violations to date,” the ministry had noted as it condemned the targeting of innocent civilians.
The Pakistan Army had on Tuesday refuted India's allegations of ceasefire violations (CFVs) and "infiltrating COVID-affected individuals" in occupied Kashmir, terming them as "baseless" and "delusional".
In a statement, Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar had referred to the Indian 15 Corps Commander's interview with the BBC and said: "Indian insinuations about infiltration and CFVs by Pakistan are not only baseless but are also patently designed to divert global and domestic attention from the unending fiasco post Aug 5, 2019."
The military's media wing spokesperson also rejected India's accusations that Pakistan was "infiltrating COVID-affected individuals into IOJK", saying Islamabad had always offered the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) unhindered access to sites where ceasefire violations had occurred.
"No less delusional are the allegations about Pakistan infiltrating COVID-affected individuals into IOJK. Pakistan has always extended unhindered UNMOGIP access to CFV sites.
"We will continue to do that most transparently," the ISPR warned.
"Indian leadership will be well advised to focus on addressing the internal mess, created not only by COVID-19 mishandling but also by the tragedy unfolding in IOJK for years on end," it added.