ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried Thursday to ease tensions with India by urging both sides to work swiftly to shore up a 10-year ceasefire threatened by recent attacks.

Sharif said that it was imperative for both India and Pakistan to take effective steps to ensure and restore ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC), the heavily militarized border dividing the disputed Kashmir region.

The prime minister expressed these views during a briefing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials at the Foreign Office in Islamabad.

He made the remarks after a Pakistani civilian was injured by firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.

The remarks also come shortly after the Indian government for the first time directly accused the Pakistani army of involvement in an ambush that killed five Indian soldiers on Monday in Kashmir. Pakistan denied any part in Monday’s incident.

India’s Defence Minister A.K. Antony alleged that specialist Pakistani troops had been involved in the attack and hinted at stronger military action.

But Sharif, who was elected in May and who backs rapprochement with India, said he was looking forward to meeting his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.

In remarks and released by his office, he said existing military channels could be more “optimally utilised” to prevent the situation from escalating further.

Pakistan, he said, is prepared to discuss steps with India for further strengthening of existing mechanisms both at the political and military levels.

Amid uproar in India over New Delhi’s handling of the incident, Sharif said leaders on both sides needed to engage “constructively with a view to building trust and confidence”.

He also stressed that he was looking forward to meeting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next month in New York to discuss steps to further build trust and consolidate ties.

Pervez Rashid Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security, Tariq Fatimi Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and senior officials of the Foreign Office and Prime Minister’s Office attended the briefing on Thursday.

source: dawn