M A I N   N E W S

Omar warns Pak on ceasefire violations 
Asks Delhi to explore other options if firing goes on
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 21
With Pakistan ratcheting up tension along the border, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today asked New Delhi to explore options other than dialogue with Islamabad if its forces continue to target Indian villages. There have been 175 ceasefire violations so far this year, the highest in the past decade, ever since the ceasefire agreement in 2003.

Omar’s tough words came on a day when Army Chief General Bikram Singh met Defence Minister AK Antony in Delhi and briefed him on the preparedness along the LoC besides recent incidents. General Bikram Singh also met top commanders and discussed the latest LoC situation.

“The Centre should explore other options if Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire,” Omar said while addressing police personnel on Police Martyrs' Commemoration Day at Zewan, on the outskirts of Srinagar. “We appeal to the Central government to strongly take up the issue with Pakistan and convey that continuous ceasefire violations will not be tolerated,” he said.

Omar, who has been a strong votary of Indo-Pak dialogue, said India should also think of other options. “We will not respond to ceasefire violation by talks, we know we can also use some other ways. We can give a befitting reply if they target us. If our people living near the border are being targeted, we also know how to respond,” he said.

Hundreds of villagers living in the border areas have fled their homes in the past few days as their homes and cattle have borne the brunt of firing from across the border.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the function, Omar said that the ceasefire violations “obviously cannot be a one-sided affair.”

“It cannot be a situation where we are at the receiving end and no response is given,” the Chief Minister said. He referred to the recent meeting of two Prime Ministers in which it was decided to ensure the sanctity of the ceasefire. “Our Prime Minister was very forthright in putting across India's concerns in New York recently. A mechanism had been worked out whereby the DGMOs (Director Generals Military Observations) of both countries would meet to discuss cooling off at the LoC and the international Border. That has not happened so far. I believe that is an option that needs to be exercised, failing which obviously, Government of India will have to look at responding in kind,” he said.

The Chief Minister also ruled out any third part mediation on resolving the Kashmir issue. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought US intervention ahead of his meeting with President Barak Obama.

“I think the Pakistani PM is guilty of playing to his home audience. Clearly, he knows from experience that India will not accept any sort of foreign intervention in the matter of Jammu and Kashmir,” Omar said. Referring to Tashkent pact reached between India and Pakistan, the Chief Minister said Pakistan wanted to forget many aspects of the agreement that do not suit it.





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