The United Nations has dismissed Pakistan Army’s claim that its military observers came under attack from Indian troops near the Line of Control, saying there was “no evidence” of them being targeted. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said there was no evidence that an UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) vehicle was targeted by the Indian Army along the LoC near the Khanjar sector.
“I can say to you that this afternoon in Bhimber District, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, UNMOGIP military observers accompanied by Pakistani Army escorts heard gunshots in their vicinity. There is no evidence that the UNMOGIP military observers were targeted by the gunfire. No UN military observer was injured,” he told reporters yesterday.
In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, had said that a vehicle carrying two officers of the UN military observer group came under attack by Indian troops during a visit to the LoC.
The Pakistan Army had claimed the vehicle was carrying UNMOGIP officers Major Emmanual of the Philippines and Major Mirko of Croatia. Asked about the increasing tension between the south Asian neighbours and whether the UN secretary-general will look into the situation, Dujarric reiterated, “we’re obviously concerned at the situation in Kashmir, and it’s an issue that the secretary-general is following closely.”
According to the UN Security Council mandate of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the LoC and the Working Boundary between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.
India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.
The observer group is headed by Major Gen Per Lodin of Sweden. It currently has 38 military observers and 73 civilian personnel.