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“This is horrible situation, have received all information, will comment at appropriate time, would be wonderful if Pakistan, India get along”; says Trump

Nation special report

WASHINGTON: In wake of deteriorating Pakistan-India relations especially following the Pulwama terror attack, the friendly countries of both nations and international organisations have started their good diplomatic efforts and influence to defuse the uncertain and dangerous situation.

United States President Donald Trump has said that his government will comment on last week’s suicide bombing in Pulwama — that killed more than 40 Indian troops — at “an appropriate time”. Trump, while answering a question from the media regarding the attack, said: “I have watched; I have got a lot of reports on it. We will have comment [on it] at an appropriate time. It would be wonderful if they [Pakistan and India] get along.”

The president, who made these comments during an Oval Office signing ceremony on Tuesday, called the attack “a horrible situation”.

Jammu and Kashmir, Feb 17 (ANI): A view of deserted street city center Lalchowk in Srinagar on Sunday during strike called by Traders body against the attack on Kashmiris in various parts of the country. (ANI Photo)

Earlier in the day, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino during a press briefing said the US government was in touch with both the governments regarding the incident.

“We have been in close communication with the government of India to express not only our condolences but our strong support for India as it confronts this terrorism,” said Palladino. “We have a close, cooperative relationship with India, a security relationship, and that includes counterterrorism operations.”

“As far as Pakistan goes, we’ve been in contact with Pakistan on this issue,” Palladino added. “We urge Pakistan to fully cooperate with the investigation into the attack and to punish anyone responsible.”

Jammu and Kashmir, Feb 17 (ANI): A view of Srinagar’s Lal Chowk as curfew continues in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. (ANI Photo)

Shortly after the Pulwama attack, the US had singled out Pakistan in its statement condemning the incident. “The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region,” the statement from the White House press secretary’s office had said, adding that “the attack strengthened US resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with India”.

UN offers help

Expressing deep concern “at the increase in tensions between India and Pakistan”, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has asked both sides to exercise maximum restraint and offered his “good offices” to ease the crisis.

 “The secretary general stresses the importance for both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions. His good offices are available if accepted by both sides,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary general, while responding to a question at a media briefing.

This is the second statement issued by the UN secretary general on the rising tensions between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of a suicide bombing attack in Pulwama district of Indian-occupied Kashmir. More than 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed in the attack, said to be claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Guterres condemned the attack yet again and said that the perpetrators of the attack should be brought to justice.

Maleeha meets Geterres

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Lodhi briefed the Secretary General about latest developments and the situation in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

She asked the Secretary General to play a role in helping to deescalate tensions.

Meanwhile, Maleeha Lodhi also called on the UN Security Council President, Anatolio Ndong Mba and briefed him about the situation in the region. 

She also informed the Security Council President about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public statement in which he offered dialogue to India, but also said that Pakistan will respond if India embarks on any misadventure. 

Afghanistan’s reaction

Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Pakistani ambassador on Wednesday over his remarks that Afghan peace talks could be affected if India resorted to violence after last week’s attack on Indian paramilitary police in held-Kashmir.

In a statement issued after the meeting with Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah, the Foreign Ministry said it deemed his comments to be “in contradiction with Pakistan’s commitments with regards to realising peace in Afghanistan”.

Nasrullah said on Tuesday that any attack by India would “affect the stability of the entire region and impact the momentum” of the Afghan peace effort.

China’s reaction

Following the latest escalation of tensions between Pakistan and India, China on Wednesday called for restraint and said it would engage with India on the issue of listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations.

“China hopes that Pakistan and India can exercise restraint, engage in dialogues and realise an early ‘soft landing’ of this issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said ahead of the next week’s trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting between China, India and Russia.

Since last week’s Pulwama attack, India has stepped up efforts for listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN. The JeM claimed the Pulwama attack on Central Police Reserve Force bus in which 44 security personnel were killed. China, it should be recalled, has been maintaining a technical hold on Azhar’s listing.

France has said that it will make a fresh bid at the UN for Azhar’s listing in a couple of days. France had in 2017 moved a proposal with the US and UK backing to get Azhar declared a global terrorist, but the move was blocked by China.

The issue would be a major agenda point during a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting.

France’s reaction:

France will soon be moving a proposal at the United Nations to put Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar on the global terrorist list, French diplomatic sources told ANI here.

This comes after the recent Pulwama terror attack that claimed the lives of as many as 40 CRPF personnel. It is pertinent to note that Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM claimed the responsibility for the attack.

According to sources, the proposal will demand Azhar’s name to be put on the UN Counter-Terrorism Sanctions List. Following the ghastly attack, United States National Security Advisor John Bolton had also called up his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and promised to remove all obstacles to designating JeM chief Masood Azhar as a ‘global terrorist’ under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 Committee process.

A proposal to list Azhar is pending before the UN Security Council but it is being blocked by China. India has been urging the international community to put pressure on China to lift its blockade

New Zealand’s reaction

The New Zealand Parliament on Wednesday unanimously passed a motion condemning the terror attack on India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14. 

The motion that was moved by Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters without prior notice, said, “This house condemns the attack on the Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Pulwama.”

“I move the motion that this House condemns the February 14 act of terrorism on Indian Central Reserved Police personnel leading to a very large loss of life. We offer condolences to the people and the government of India and offer solidarity with the government of India in this difficult time as well as offer our deep sympathies to those affected,” Peters added.

48 countries condemn

The international community has extended support to India following the dreaded Pulwama terror attack which claimed the lives of nearly 40 CRPF personnel in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to the martyred CRPF Jawans at Palam airport in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI Photo)

As many as 48 countries condemned the ghastly terror attack that shook the nation on Thursday. White House released a statement condemning the “heinous terrorist attack” by a Pakistan-based terrorist group. “We express our deep condolences to the victims’ families, the Indian government, and the Indian people for the loss of life in this brutal attack,” the statement read.

The United States also called on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region. “This attack only strengthens our resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation and coordination between the United States and India,” read the statement.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Shiekh Hasina condoled the death of the soldiers.

“Excellency, on behalf of the people and the Government of Bangladesh, and on my own behalf, let me convey our heartfelt condolences for the loss of lives of more than 37 CRPF troops who were traveling by a bus in Pulwama District of Jammu and Kashmir this afternoon. Bangladesh strongly condemns this dastardly terrorist attack,” she wrote in her letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India briefs Arab countries

India has briefed Heads of Missions of Arab countries about Islamabad’s role in sponsoring terror outfit—Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) that orchestrated the terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on Thursday.

Ambassadors of UAE, Iran, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Morocco, Egypt and Kuwait arrived for the Ministry of External Affairs briefing.

The meeting comes a day after the MEA apprised around 25 Heads of Mission (HoM) including representatives from South Korea, Sweden, Slovakia, France, Spain, Bhutan, Germany, Hungary, Italy, European Union, Canada, Britain, Russia, Israel, Australia, and Japan.

Security meeting

A meeting headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh with RAW chief AK Dhasmana, Additional Director IB Arvind Kumar, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and NSA Ajit Doval is underway at the Union Minister’s residence.

The meeting has been called in the wake of the ghastly Pulwama terror attack that took place on Thursday.

Nearly 40 CRPF personnel were killed in Awantipora in an attack orchestrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). A day after the attack, the Centre announced the withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status granted to Pakistan.