Bilateral relations

Pakistan demands ‘actionable evidence’ from Delhi for allegations of mutilating soldiers’ bodies

The Pakistani Army also warned India of ‘appropriate’ action against any ‘misadventures’.

Pakistan on Tuesday sought “actionable evidence” from New Delhi for alleging that its forces had killed two Indian soldiers and mutilated their bodies. Pakistan’s Director General of Military Operations General Shahid Shamshad Mirza had spoken to his Indian counterpart over the phone, the Pakistan Army said.

“Any misadventure by India shall be appropriately responded at a place and time of own choosing,” General Mirza warned DGMO Indian Lieutenant General Army AK Bhatt.

Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja M Asif on Monday night had called the allegations “baseless” and said it was an attempt by the Indian Army to divert attention from the Kashmir crisis and “demonise” the Pakistan Army.

“Indian allegations of Pakistani incursion on the LoC are baseless. It is a deplorable attempt to ignite tensions for internal political motives,” Asif said on Twitter.

The minister defended the his country’s armed forces and said it upholds the “highest standards of professional conduct”. Asif added that Islamabad expects “prudence” from India so bilateral tensions do not go out of hand. “We remain fully committed to peace along the LoC...Violation of LoC and question of mutilation of bodies does not arise at all.”

The Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General AK Bhatt spoke to his Pakistani counterpart on Tuesday and expressed concern about the incident. “Such a dastardly and inhuman act is beyond any norm of civility and merits unequivocal condemnation and response,” the DGMO was quoted as saying in a message to Pakistan.

Bhatt questioned the support Border Action Teams were provided by Pakistani troops in their operation. He also highlighted the BAT training camps set up near the LoC. But the Pakistani commander stood by his country’s stance that they had not mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers.

Asif’s statements echoed those of Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. Earlier on Monday, Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria had said that the Pakistani Army “will never disrespect a soldier”, also denying allegations of ceasefire violation. “Indian blame of mutilating Indian soldiers is also false.”

Meanwhile, political leaders in India condemned the brutality. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley called it a “reprehensible and inhumane act” and promised retaliation from the Indian armed forces. Congress Spokesperson Anand Sharma attacked the central government for its policies on Kashmir.

The soldiers were killed in Kashmir’s Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch near the LoC. Heavy firing was reported after two Indian forward posts at Kerni were targeted. One of the troops who died was an Indian Army soldier and the other was a Border Security Force jawan.

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