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Pakistan-bashing has become fashionable: Envoy

Bashir condemns January 8 killing and mutilation of Indian soldiers

Gulf News

New Delhi: Pakistan has denied its forces crossed the Line of Control January 8, the day two Indian soldiers were brutally killed on the border, and said the killings should be probed by the respective armies.

In an interview to NDTV news channel, Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir also said that Pakistan-bashing had “become fashionable” in India.

The envoy condemned the January 8 killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers, including the beheading of one, in Mendhar sector of Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Such heinous acts of course are condemnable, irrespective of where they happen and when... But to say that they were done by Pakistan or the Pakistan army was responsible is something that we cannot agree to,” he said.

“When India raised the issue with us, we had said that we had made some preliminary checks... that we were prepared to do more and both the militaries needed to get to the bottom of it... That is the way we think this matter should have been handled instead of playing or stirring raw emotions and upping the rhetoric. This is detrimental to normal business,” Bashir said.

He added: “Unfortunately, I must say that it has almost become fashionable, that Pakistan-bashing has become fashionable whenever there is an issue.”

“The incident needs to be looked at by the Indian military command and to the extent (possible) shared with us... we have said we are prepared to look at it.”

Bashir emphasized: “We are absolutely clear, that at no point in time did Pakistani forces cross the LoC.”

The Indian Army says that Pakistani troops crossed 600 metres into the Indian side of the LoC January 8 and brutally killed and beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj Singh, whose head is still missing, and killed and mutilated Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh.

The killings led to loud protests in India and calls for snapping ties with Pakistan.

Bashir also said: “One wrong, or two wrongs, do not really square up... The important thing is to get up to deal with the issues to the best of our ability within the mechanisms that exist.”

The Pakistani envoy also welcomed the DGMOs (Director General of Military Operations) of the two countries speaking on the hotline Wednesday, and agreeing to maintain the 2003 ceasefire, a crucial part of their confidence building measures.

“Hope at the military-to-military level it will help in bringing back peace and tranquility on the LoC,” he said.

Following the January 8 killing, India took a tough stand saying it could not be “business as usual” with Pakistan unless the perpetrators of the killing are brought to book.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has offered talks at the foreign ministers level to resolve issues between the two countries.