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As tension with India escalates, Sharif holds meeting with Pak parties

India's Pakistan offensive Updated: Oct 03, 2016 15:22 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times
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Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif speaks during a summit for at the UN headquarters on September 19.(AP)

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday chaired a meeting of leaders of Pakistan’s political parties to forge a united front in the face of escalating tensions with India over the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.

Sharif took the political leaders “into confidence about the developing situation at the eastern border in the wake of blistering statements from the Indian leadership”, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

Foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry briefed the meeting about the situation in Kashmir and along the LoC. He said the Kashmir issue had become a “flashpoint” between the two sides.

The meeting will “evolve a joint response” on Kashmir and the situation along the LoC, Radio Pakistan reported.

Read: Pak media slams India’s ‘stage-managed terror acts’, focuses on LoC firing

All political parties represented in parliament are attending the meet to send out a “message that the entire nation is united when it comes to defence and integrity of the country”.

The meeting began hours after fresh fighting between militants and Indian forces at Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir that killed a paramilitary trooper and injured another. Security forces launched a search and combing operation after the fighting ended on Monday morning.

Tensions between the two countries spiked after India carried out surgical strikes against terrorist “launch pads” across the LoC last week. Pakistan has said that no such strikes were carried out and focussed on the Kashmir issue, describing it as an “unfinished agenda of Partition”.

Footage aired on Pakistani news channels showed Sharif greeting senior political leaders, including opposition members who launched a campaign to remove him from office last week.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the Pakistan People’s Party, the main opposition party, said his party would stand with Sharif on “the Kashmir issue and Indian aggression along the LoC” despite its differences with the government on many issues.

“We will support you. The PPP has taken a clear stance on these issues. This is a turning point in Pakistan-India relations,” Bilawal was quoted as saying by the media. “A united Pakistan can counter Indian aggression and by working together we can achieve our national security goals. There is no military solution to Kashmir.”

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