Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday welcomed the decision to halt cross-border firing along the Line of Control under the ceasefire agreement, but said that the onus of creating an environment for further progress rested with India.
India’s Ministry of Defence announced on Thursday that New Delhi and Pakistan had reaffirmed their commitment to a ceasefire along the border after a year of heightened military tensions between the two neighbouring countries. Both sides blame each other for the large-scale violations.
Artillery, rockets and gunfire have been regularly exchanged between troops across the border, killing hundreds, often civilians. The Centre had told Parliament earlier this month that there were 5,133 ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border in 2020, which led to 46 deaths.
In a series of tweets, Khan on Saturday said that Pakistan had always stood for peace and was ready to move forward to resolve all outstanding matters with India through dialogue. “I welcome restoration of the ceasefire along the LOC [Line of Control],” he added.
Khan also urged the Narendra Modi government to reverses steps taken by New Delhi in 2019 by changing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and to take “necessary steps to meet the long-standing demand and right of Kashmiri people to self determination” as per the United Nations Security Council resolutions. “The onus of creating an enabling environment for further progress rests with India,” he said.
The Pakistani prime minister’s statements came on the second anniversary of Pakistan’s retaliatory air strikes after the Indian Air Force targeted a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp at Balakot in 2019.
He called India’s actions a “reckless military adventure”, adding that Pakistan had “responded with determined resolve at a time and place of our choosing”.
“We also demonstrated to the world Pakistan’s responsible behaviour in the face of India’s irresponsible military brinkmanship, by returning the captured Indian pilot,” Khan added, referring to Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistani forces in a military dogfight between the two countries in 2019.