The brutal killing and beheading of two Indian army jawans along the Line of Control which has put a strain on diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan, has generated a flurry of reactions - mostly outrage by India, and aggrieved denials by Pakistan, which have since however been toned down to offers of reconciliation.
While the Indian government and opposition parties expressed disgust and outrage at the incident, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that she was a "little appalled" at the kind of reactions coming out of India. Most recently however she offered to hold talks on the issue following an unrelenting hard stand taken by India, while the Pakistani ambassador Salman Bashir said that Pakistan was willing to conduct a probe into the incident.
This is a collection of who has said what about the incident so far:
Pakistan ambassador to India, Salman Bashir
"We want that both sides at the military level undertake their own investigations and use bilateral channels to get to the bottom of the incident. We are also concerned about ceasefire violations that have resulted in several casualties on our side but for peace to prevail we believe that the way forward is to talk to each other instead of getting into mutual recrimination"
"Whenever there is a tragic incident - be it an earthquake or a terror attack or some heinous crime - ordinary people suffer from the same sentiment. But what I object to is the instinctive reflexes for Pakistan bashing and whipping up of emotions which has almost turned into a stereotype. It is important for saner voices to realize that neither Pakistan can wish India away nor India can do the same to Pakistan"
"Both sides have agreed for the need to de-escalate the situation. Would like to reiterate Pakistan's commitment to maintaining the ceasefire along the Line of Control. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we have refrained from going to the media and preferred to use channels of communication"
Pakistan Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar:
"Instead of issuing belligerent statements by the military and political leaders from across the border and ratcheting up tension, it is advisable for the two countries to discuss all concerns related to the LoC with a view to reinforcing respect for the ceasefire, may be at the level of the Foreign Ministers, to sort out things”
" “We see war mongering. It is deeply disturbing to hear statements which are upping the ante, where one politician is competing with the other to give a more hostile statement"
"We have ordered an independent investigation, but we are offering more, let a third party investigate the issue. I am appalled at some of the suggestions being made by the Indian politicians and spokespersons on Pakistan’s effort to derail the peace process. This is a government that I represent of the Pakistan People’s Party that has invested four years of building normalcy an environment of trust, an environment of moving forward to achieve common objectives of regional peace and foster internal stability between the two countries.
Three days back , Pakistani soldier Lance Naik Aslam was brutally murdered because of Indian firing, 400 metres inside Pakistani territory. The DG (Military operations) of Pakistan asked his counterpart in India for an explanation. You did not see any hostile reaction coming in from the foreign minister, as we believe that these things must be dealt in a responsible manner.
You asked whether this will set back or derail the (peace) process. I will hope not and I (do not) see it derailing or setting back the process.
Indian External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid
"We will respond positively to what Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir has said"
"It should not be felt that the brazen denial and the lack of a proper response from the Government of Pakistan to our repeated demarches on this incident will be ignored and that bilateral relations could be unaffected or that there will be business as usual. Such actions by the Pakistan Army, which are in contravention of all norms of international conduct, not only constitute a grave provocation but lead us to draw appropriate conclusions about Pakistan’s seriousness in pursuing normalisation of relations with India"
"This is inhuman. Extremely myopic, shortsighted. Has caused us tremendous hurt. It is not something of light nature, public opinion does not accept it. We need answers from the Pakistani side. We may have to go beyond the procedures,”
"We’re not going to be pressurised by wild calls for revenge and reaction. We will do what is in the best interest of the country and peace, keeping in mind that there is a lot at stake. And we hope there will be a similar approach from the other side. We shouldn’t really be lulled into believing that nothing went wrong. We hope we’ll both have the ability to contain and control while we continue to look at how we resolve the fundamental issue.”
"When you make an enormous investment in the peace process, you don’t do it just because it sounds good. You do it because there is objective and practical need for peace, because the cost of not having peace is much greater rather than the cost of investing in peace. Therefore, we are today still committed and trying the best that we can do to ensure that peace is not derailed, certainly not derailed beyond the extent to which we have seen it getting derailed.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh:
After this barbaric act there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan. What happened at the LoC is unacceptable, those who are responsible should be brought to book"
Indian defence Minister, AK Antony:
The killings were “highly provocative. The way they have treated the body of the Indian soldiers, it is inhuman. We are closely monitoring the whole development and our people are on alert. Ceasefire violations are a cause of serious concern and we are taking it seriously. We will take every step to protect our interests and of our soldiers and the prestige of the Indian armed forces. We will convey our protest to the Pakistan government and our DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) will talk to his counterpart in Pakistan.
Indian Army Chief, Bikram Singh
"The Beheading (of Lance Naik Hemraj) is unacceptable and unpardonable. It was stage-managed and pre-planned. They have planted lies to justify what they have done. India reserves its right to retaliate at the time and place of its choice. We won’t remain passive when attacked. The important thing now is to ensure that morale among commanders in Kashmir remains high. We will uphold the ceasefire only if the adversary respects it and will not tolerate being fired upon."
Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne
"We are watching the situation carefully, if the violations continue, perhaps we may have to think of some other options for compliance. options are options… If violations continue we might have to look at the whole issue again."
Pakistan Retd Air Vice Marshal, Abid Rao
First of all, if what you have said is right, I condemn it. The statements given by your Army Chief and your Air Chief…they are blowing the issue beyond proportion. These things can be settled in local flag meeting. Don’t blow it out of proportion where public sentiment is also blown up to an extent where people are talking about revenge.
Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha
“If his (Hemraj’s) head could not be brought back (from Pakistan), we should get at least 10 heads from their side. The question is: will we sit without any reaction and engage in a dialogue? This should not happen. At least the government should react in some way. That is why we have said that government should take some tough measures"
Manish Tewari, Minister of Information & Broadcasting
The attack which took place at LoC and the manner in which our soldiers were treated, the entire nation is enraged by it. Organisations that have the responsibility of dealing with the issue should be allowed to. We should refrain from jingoism
Uddhav Thackeray, Executive President, Shiv Sena
"Send the Indian military inside Pakistan and take revenge for this horrific incident. Only then will it be a tribute to the martyrdom of our soldiers. Pakistan is beheading our soldiers and here we are playing cricket (with them), forgetting all brutalities. Not only cricket ties, it is imperative to break all kinds of relations with Pakistan.
Hafiz Saeed, founder LeT
I CHALLENGE the Indian Government, its ministers & agencies to prove my presence near LOC or remain exposed as Liars in front of the world. I will accept every Indian allegation if they prove my alleged visit at the LOC - It is nothing but a blatant lie. India is trying to shift focus from its internal problems of Rape,Communal Riots and exploiting the sentiments against Pakistan. I condemn cowardly blasts in Quetta & Swat and urge government to expose the Indian evidence it is hiding - Pakistanis know their enemies. India would never spare opportunity to harm Pakistan. We invite MFN AmankiAsha supporters to see Indian politics of violence & propaganda.