Indian diplomats attend Pakistan Day parade for first time

Islamabad: For the first time, senior Indian military officials and diplomats posted here attended the military parade to mark the Pakistan Day, a media report said today, claiming that the initiative of the Pakistan Army chief was to send a message of peace to New Delhi.

Amid heightened tensions between the two neighbouring countries, the Pakistan Army invited, for the first time, Indian Defence Attache and senior diplomats of the Indian High Commission to join the March 23 celebrations, a senior Pakistani military official told The Express Tribune.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the initiative came from Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the idea was to send a message of peace to India.

Indian deputy high commissioner J P Singh and Defence and Military Adviser Brigadier Sanjay P Vishwasrao were among those who attended the event, according to media reports.

The move comes at a time when tensions have been simmering between Islamabad and New Delhi with frequent incidents of clashes along the Line of Control and Working Boundary.

While the Pakistan Army chief is believed to be in favour of improved ties, the ball is now in India’s court to see how the unprecedented gesture will be reciprocated, the report said.

India has made it clear to Islamabad that the onus is on Pakistan to create a conducive atmosphere for dialogue between the two countries.

At the Pakistan Day event, President Mamnoon Hussain accused accused India of cease-fire violations and human rights abuses, saying New Delhi’s actions have put regional peace at stake.

He had also raised the Kashmir issue, saying, “the only solution to the dispute of Kashmir is providing the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people, and Pakistan will continue to play its role….”

The participation of Indian diplomats at the Pakistan Day came a day after Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood returned to New Delhi a week after he was called back for consultations amid the raging row between India and Pakistan over harassment of diplomats.PTI

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