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FO rejected Indian protest over Pak-China bus service

02 November, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday rejected Indian protest over the launch of a luxury bus service between Pakistan and China, saying the international community could not be misled.

“We reject the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) purported protest and statement regarding bus service through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). India’s repeated regurgitation of claims over India-held Kashmir can neither change the facts of history nor the legality of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” an FO statement said.

A new bus service called Pak-China CPEC Bus Service is being launched between Lahore and Tashkurgan (Kashgar – China). The service would be operated by the North-South Transport Network — a Lahore-based private company that on its website claims to be accredited with Indian Importers Association as a ‘life member’ facilitating Indian importers through ‘logistic services and trade’.

India’s external affairs ministry in a statement said: “We have lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan on the proposed bus service that will operate through … Jammu and Kashmir under … ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’.”

The EAM spokesperson contended that the bus service operating through Kashmir would be “a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Rejecting the Indian position, the FO said: “As per the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is disputed, the final status of which is to be determined through a democratic and impartial plebiscite to be held under the auspices of the United Nations.”

It added that by raising frivolous issues, India could not mislead the international community or hide its state-terrorism against people engaged in a legitimate struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, while responding to a query on the Indian protest over bus service in his media briefing, said: “CPEC is an economic cooperation initiative which targets no third country. It has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes and will not affect China’s principled position on the Kashmir issue.”

Meanwhile, Indian Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh was summoned to the Foreign Office and a protest was lodged over the latest ceasefire violation in LoC’s Leepa Sector, which claimed the life of a civilian.

An official statement said: “Director General (SA & Saarc), Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner Mr JP Singh and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control on Oct 31, 2018 in Leepa Sector, resulting in the Shahadat of one innocent civilian — Haroon Abdul Rashid, 18 — in Bijildar village.”

More than 2,300 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary by India have so far been recorded this year in which 34 civilians lost their lives, while 135 others were injured.

Last year, Indian forces committed 1,970 ceasefire breaches.

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