NEW DELHI: The Congress on Monday strongly condemned Pakistan for the ceasefire violation on Monday, which had claimed the lives of five civilians and resulted in injuries to over 30 people in villages along the International Border(IB) in Jammu region, even as the festival of Id-ul-Zuha was being celebrated on both the sides.
The party said, “It was not just unfortunate but also cruel as J&K was yet to recover from the devastation caused by the floods.”
The Congress also targeted the Centre accusing it of remaining “silent” while flaying Pakistan for not showing “simple human compassion” towards the victims of floods on a festive day. “The state has also faced devastating floods recently. Instead of showing compassion to the flood victims, Pakistan is spraying bullets from across the border. I strongly condemn Pakistan’s Army and its administration,” senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
He also blamed the Centre for “failing” to respond adequately and effectively to the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
The neighbouring country was somehow “emboldened” to trigger tensions in the border areas, he claimed.
Targeting the new government, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and former J&K CM said that the deaths of jawans and civilians at the border had become a “regular feature” ever since the BJP-NDA Government came to power at the Centre.
Reminding the BJP leadership of its pre-election rhetoric on the subject, Azad said that PM Narendra Modi had promised so ostentatiously during the Lok Sabha elections that ceasefire violations would not be tolerated.
But the “failure of the BJP- NDA Government is visible in the light of the BSF Director General’s statement in August that firing and shelling on the IB with Pakistan was the heaviest for the first time after the 1971 war.”
He held the NDA’s Pakistan policy responsible for the current situation.
“The Centre’s Pak policy is full of inconsistencies -- one day it is over zealously enthusiastic about talks and the other day it raises shrill jingoistic clamour for war,” he said.
It should be noted that the Congress-led UPA Government during its last days came under lot of flak from then Opposition BJP for ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Then Defence Minister A K Antony had come under fire in Parliament and he had in fact tendered an apology of sorts on the issue once.
Criticising what he felt was the government’s “overzealous overtures” to Pakistan by “exchanging sarees and shawls and rolling out the red carpet for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif even before taking oath”, Azad claimed that it had “emboldened” the neighbour to indulge in misadventures along the International Border and LoC.
“The BJP’s strong anti-Pakistan noises within the country and sending of emissaries like Ved Pratap Vedik to Pakistan to hobnob with hardcore and known anti-India elements, like Hafiz Saeed, is being keenly watched by the people,” he added.
Referring to the repeated and daring intrusions at the LoC, Azad also faulted the Centre’s China policy as well, the brunt of which, he said, was being faced by the people of the state and the Armed Forces.
Former Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid too attacked Pakistan even as he upbraided the Centre not taking action.