A civil society group promoting peace initiatives between Pakistan and India urged two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours to show restraint and avoid a war like situation in the wake of Indian airstrikes on an alleged militant camp in Pakistan.
The statement came after India said that its military planes hit a militant compound in a settled district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The preemptive strike, according to India, eliminated more than 300 terrorists of Jaish-e-Muhammad.
Pakistan has denied the claim, saying eight Indian aircraft were timely intercepted and forced to retreat without causing any damage to infrastructure or loss of life. Villagers told media that one person was injured and some trees were damaged in Indian air strikes.
A day later Pakistan shot down two Indian planes for violating the country’s airspace.
“We, the members of Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD), from India and Pakistan, note with seriousness and strongly condemn the Indian air strikes and bombing in settled districts of Pakistan beyond the LoC,” a statement by the peace body said.
“We demand both governments of Indian & Pakistan to show restraint and avoid any war like situation. We further demand immediate measures from both sides to de-escalate the situation and de-militarize borders by withdrawing troops to the peace time level.”
PIPFPD, from India and Pakistan also unequivocally condemned the Feb 14 Pulwama attack.
“We are also appalled at the large-scale killings of the police, army personnel, civilians and members of non-state armed groups, in diverse instances that followed Pulwama killings. We are shocked and pained at the number of human lives that is lost to guns, IEDs, missiles, bombs, pellet guns, stones, etc. in the Kashmir valley—especially in the increased instances over the last few years, since 2016.”
The forum also took serious note of the high emotional outpouring and war mongering on both sides further giving rise to fundamentalists and extremists elements.
“It is perturbed about the increasing incidents of violence and vindictive action against Kashmiris in particular and Muslims in general by state and non-state actors in India. Ironically, despite a very delayed mention by the PM of India, senior members of the Indian government have not shown any meaningful or strong signs of restrain or resolve to discourage such violent elements and occurrences.”