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Pakistan fires fencing salvo

Islamabad, Dec. 7 (PTI): A day after President Pervez Musharraf blamed India for building a fence deep inside its territory, a top Pakistani official today charged Delhi with violating bilateral and multilateral agreements by stepping up construction of fencing along the Line of Control taking advantage of the ceasefire.

“The Karachi Agreement 1949 and Pakistan-India Agreement of September 1972 clearly mention that if any new construction is done on the Line of Control, permission will have to be obtained from each other,” Pakistan’s defence spokesperson Major General Shoukat Sultan said. “We shall try to raise this issue through diplomatic means,” he added.

Sultan said the fencing altered the status of LoC. “No fencing construction will be done there and this erection of the fence on the LoC alters the status of the LoC whereas Kashmir is a disputed territory,” he told BBC. “This fencing is a violation of bilateral and multilateral agreements.”

The spokesperson said there should be sincerity on both sides and whenever there is a peace effort it should be carried ahead towards a better end.

Reports about fencing quoting Indian military officials from Jammu and Kashmir embarrassed Islamabad. With the ceasefire successfully holding on, diplomatic sources expressed surprise over the lack of discretion on the part of Indian Army officials in making such statements to the international media.

Yesterday, Musharraf said in Lahore that India was building the fence 5 km deep inside its territory and that it was not even visible from Pakistani side.

Sultan said India has not informed Pakistan about the fencing. But he added Islamabad would adhere to the ceasefire.

“We have warned time and again not to erect this fence here on the LoC. Pakistan itself offered the ceasefire. Therefore, even now Pakistan will endeavour that the ceasefire holds at all costs.”

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