Hina Khar accuses India of 'war mongering' over LoC issue

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 16, 2013 16:07 hrs

New York: Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar accused India of engaging in "war-mongering" in the aftermath of clashes and killing of two Indian soldiers at the Line of Control(LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Khar also said Pakistan is "deeply disappointed" to hear statements from India that are "upping the ante" and claimed her government is creating a "precedence" of not following war-mongering.

India, Pakistan and the South Asian region cannot afford a conflict between the two countries and the doors of dialogue have to remain open, she said, adding her government wants the dialogue process to be "uninterrupted and uninterruptible."

The Foreign Minister's comments came close on the heels of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's stern warning to Pakistan that it cannot be "business as usual" between the neighbours after tension flared up at the LoC following the killing of two soldiers--one of whom was beheaded-- by Pakistani troops.

"What do we see today. We see three incidents across the LoC. We see war-mongering which puts the last 60 years actively back into our memory. War-mongering coming in from the other side of the border which is, I thought, the thing of yesteryears, thing that we had put behind us," Khar said at an event at the Asia Society here yesterday.

"It is deeply disturbing to hear statements (from India) which are upping the ante where one politician is competing with the other to give a more hostile statement," Khar, who is in the city on the occasion of Pakistan's Presidency this month at the UN Security Council, said.

Khar said a "typical" Pakistani government would have responded with "tit-for-tat" statements but her government has made "pacifying statements" that called for respecting the dialogue process in response to the "hostile statement" India has made in the last few days over the clashes and killings of soldiers at the LoC.

She said there is no question of Pakistan authorising the beheading and killing of any Indian soldier as it would not be conducive for the peace process.

Hina brands 'no good' Qadri's demands 'preposterous, unconstitutional'

Speaking on the issue of an internal strife affecting her country, Hina said the influential cleric Tahirul Qadri's demands are "preposterous and unconstitutional" and said the cleric means "no good".

Hina said Qadri was a dual national which bars him from contesting provincial or national assembly elections, reported The Express Tribune.

She said Qadri has only come to derail the system, and that he happens to be someone who constitutionally cannot contest a single provincial or national assembly seat. She said it is preposterous that Qadri wants a role of the military and judiciary in the politics of Pakistan. She added that he could also be arrested for it.

Commenting on Qadri's ongoing long march in Islamabad, Khar said that the participants of the rally were around 30,000 in number by all accounts. Qadri's organisation MQI is well-organised which makes it easier for him to gather this number of people, she maintained.

Khar accepted that there are governance issues in Pakistan but said that the timing of Qadri's long march was not appropriate, as the country is only two months away from the first democratic transition in Pakistan's history in 60 years.

Hina must reflect on her country's actions: BJP

Taking potshots at Hina for accusing India of 'warmongering', the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said she must reflect on her country's past actions and avoid preaching to New Delhi from international platforms.

"Pakistan is where militancy is being manufactured, where the establishment is in tatters, where many parallel governments exist, which threatens the peace of not just India, but the world. In such circumstances, my unsolicited advice to Pakistan's Foreign Minister is that instead of preaching to the Indian government, army and media, she must reflect on her country's actions in the past," said BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Ram Asrey Kushwaha said 'the Indian Government must immediately order the army to initiate a stronger response to what Pakistan has done'.

"It is very unfortunate, that after such a big incident where two martyrs were beheaded, it took eight days for our Prime Minister to break his silence," he told media in Kanpur.

Khar had earlier said that Pakistan is committed to getting relations with India back to normal, and added that the two neighbours could ill afford a setback to the progress being made to improving ties over the past year.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, yesterday termed as 'barbaric' the brutal killing of Indian jawans along the Line of Control (LoC), and said there cannot be business as usual with Islamabad.

Dr. Singh, who broke his silence on the prevailing tension with Pakistan on the LoC, said the attack on the Indian armymen was unacceptable.

"After this barbaric act, there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan. Pakistan must be held accountable for what happened on the LoC. Hope Pakistan will bring the perpetrators of the beheading to justice. The future peace process depends on Pakistan," he said.

Tension between the two Asian neighbours has escalated ever since Lance Naik Hemraj was beheaded in an attack by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control on January 8.

India has lodged a strong protest against the ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC and made it clear to it that the Army reserves the right to retaliate if provoked.

The army's position was conveyed at a brigadier-level flag meeting between the two sides at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing-point in Poonch sector of the Jammu region on Monday.

Pakistan has denied India's claim that its troops crossed the Line of Control to ambush a patrol party in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district.

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