Policy of non-escalation to be pursued with India: Khar
[Dawn] Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the National Assembly at the start of its new session on Monday that Pakistain would stick to its policy of non-escalation of tensions with India after a recent deadly flare-up between the two sides over the military Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmire.

She reiterated what she called "our commitment not to escalate the situation" after opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accused the government of being insensitive to national sentiments and apologetic in the face of a perceived aggressive attitude of the Indian leadership both in the government and opposition.

The minister recalled Islamabad's initiatives such as a proposal that UN military observers posted in Kashmire for decades to investigate the LoC violations earlier this month that killed two soldiers on each side and contacts held between military officers of the two sides and said "we will not fall prey" to any provocation from the other side.

Chaudhry Nisar, taking the floor twice before and after the foreign minister's response, said his party, the Pakistain Moslem League-N, did not want war or sabre-rattling, but wanted the government to firmly respond to what he called "very aggressive statements" coming from the Indian side, which he said had caused worries among Paks living abroad.

He called the government "insensitive" and "sleeping" and said: "Don't sell away Pakistain's honour like this."

But Ms Khar, whose comments were followed by two stinging rejoinders from Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira both to Chaudhry Nisar and PML-N deputy secretary general Ahsan Iqbal on other issues, assured the house that the government was "very aware of challenges emanating from our eastern borders" but said a responsible diplomatic behaviour did not mean "to emulate somebody else".

She noted that all political parties in Pakistain wanted to normalise relations with India and, in the context of the LoC incidents, said: "We have shown our commitment not to escalate the situation."

Posted by: Fred 2013-01-23