Restoration of ceasefire between India and Pak has helped in bringing peace along LoC: FO

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Islamabad, Jun 3 (PTI) The restoration of the ceasefire between Pakistan and India has helped in bringing peace and tranquility along the Line of Control (LoC), the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

The militaries of India and Pakistan, in a surprise announcement on February 25, said that they had agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors.

'We believe that it has helped bring peace and tranquility along the Line of Control (LOC), providing some relief to the Kashmiris living along both sides of the LoC,” Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said when asked to comment on the 100 days of the ceasefire understanding the two neighbours.

In response to another question on any further peace engagements, he said, 'we believe that India must create an enabling environment for a ‘meaning’ and ‘result oriented’ engagement.' India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

'We have consistently maintained that the Jammu & Kashmir dispute remains the core issue between India and Pakistan that needs resolution as per the UN Resolutions and in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people,” Chaudhri said.

He said there was no change in the stance of Pakistan that India should reverse the unilateral decision on Kashmir, referring to New Delhi's move to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 on August 5, 2019 and bifurcate it into two Union territories.

New Delhi has repeatedly said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and the country is capable of solving its own problems.

Ties between India and Pakistan nosedived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.

The relationship dipped further after India's war planes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.

The relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.

Responding to a question on Afghanistan, Chaudhri said there should be an 'orderly' and 'responsible' troops withdrawal from the war-torn nation.

'In addition, the withdrawal of US forces must coincide with the overall progress achieved in the peace process,' he added.

'We believe that all parties to the Afghan conflict must remain committed to the ongoing efforts for a negotiated settlement of the conflict,' he said.

He also rejected a report about the presence of a US air or military base in Pakistan and said that no such proposal was envisaged.

'Pakistan and the US have the framework of cooperation in terms of Air Lines of Communication (ALOC) and Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) in place since 2001. No new agreement has been made,' he said.

He also said that Pakistan and China have so far completed 19 projects under the USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), while 28 are under-construction and 41 more in the pipeline.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan policy on China's Muslim-majority province Xinjiang is consistent and clear. 'We believe that affairs related to Xinjiang are an internal matter of China.' The government of China has been accused of committing atrocities against the Uighurs and other ethnic minority communities in Xinjiang.

To a question about any update on the case of two Pakistanis diplomats who were caught stealing in Seoul, South Korea, he said: 'Our mission in Seoul is in contact with the host authorities to ascertain facts of the reported incidents.” PTI SH ZH ZH ZH