August 2002 News

UN denies J&K newspaper charges on info sharing with Pak

13 August 2002
The Hindustan Times

United Nations: The United Nations has strongly denied the charges in a Jammu and Kashmir-based newspaper that its military observers in the state are passing on information to Pakistan, describing it as ''groundless and potentially inflammatory''. The Kashmir Times, in a story dated August 5, had quoted National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh as saying the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was working as ''stooge of ISI and Pakistan military,'' and was ''abetting'' terrorists in smuggling of arms into Jammu and Kashmir and passing on information on Indian military to Islamabad. The observers, chief UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said, report only to UNMOGIP headquarters which forwards them to the world body''s headquarters in New York. ''They do not provide information to any third party,'' he added. Such ''irresponsible and misinformed reports,'' he said, could ''potentially endanger the safety of unarmed observers with the United Nations Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP).'' UNMOGIP, at present having 45 observers drawn from nine countries, is expected to observe and report on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control (LoC) and the working boundary between Pakistan and India as well on the developments that could lead to ceasefire violations. Eckhard said, ''host authorities'' have full responsibility for ensuring their safety. ''We trust that the authorities will ensure that difficulty and risks face by these dedicated officers are not exacerbated by such reports,'' he added.


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