Pakistan on Tuesday took members of the diplomatic corps to the Line of Control (LoC) as part of efforts to debunk India’s claims of targeting alleged “terror launch pads” in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
India’s top diplomat was not part of the group, refusing Islamabad’s rare invite and lending further credence to Pakistan’s doubts over the veracity of New Delhi’s claims.
“Claims by the Indian Army Chief remain just that ‘claims’ … The Indian side has not joined us in the visit to LoC neither have they provided coordinates of the alleged ‘launchpads’,” Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said in a series of tweets early on Tuesday.
Military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor also criticised India’s decision to refuse Pakistan’s invite. “What good Indian High Commission is which can’t stand with its Army Chief? Indian High Commission staff didn’t have the moral courage to accompany fellow diplomats in Pakistan to LOC,” he said in a tweet.
The visit has been organised by Pakistan in the wake of Sunday’s deadly exchange at the LoC sparked by India’s ceasefire violations.
Nine Indian soldiers were killed, while one Pakistani soldier and five civilians were martyred as the two sides exchanged heavy fire in Jura, Shahkot and Nousheri sectors.
These are the sectors which the diplomats will visit today.
Soon after the LoC clashes, Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat had claimed that “three terror launch pads” were destroyed and several alleged terrorists were killed on the Pakistani side.
However, the Pakistan Army strongly rebutted the Indian claims, terming it part of New Delhi’s attempts to divert attention from the current situation in occupied Kashmir.
“The propensity of false claims by senior Indian military leadership, especially since the Pulwama incident, is detrimental to peace in the region. Such false claims by the Indian army are being made to suit vested interests. This is against professional military ethics,” Maj Gen Ghafoor had said in a statement.