Tensions soar along frontier in disputed Kashmir region

Pakistan accuses Indian troops of killing three civilians, including a seven-year-old girl, in latest bout of violence.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947 [EPA]
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947 [EPA]

Pakistan on Friday accused India of killing three civilians – including a seven-year-old girl – and wounding several others in cross-border fire as tensions soar in disputed Kashmir.

The incident occurred in Nakyal sector, near the frontier dividing Indian-administered Kashmir from Pakistan’s Punjab province, Pakistani officials said.

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“At least three people, including a woman and a girl, were killed and five others injured when Indian troops opened fire across the border,” said district official Adnan Khursheed.

Zeeshan Nisar, an official in Nakyal, confirmed the incident, adding a seven-year-old girl was among the dead.

A doctor at the hospital in Nakyal sector put the number of wounded at seven.

“Three of the injured are in critical condition while four injured are stable,” Muhammad Nasrullah told AFP news agency.

There was no immediate response from Indian officials.

Attack on wedding ceremony

Muhammad Naseer, a local resident, said mortar shells hit a house where a wedding ceremony was taking place.

Sazia Bibi, one of the wounded, said she was outside the house fetching water when pieces of the shell struck her.

The latest violence comes after New Delhi announced on Thursday it was expelling a Pakistani visa official for suspected spying, with Islamabad responding by saying it would send back an Indian diplomat in an apparent tit-for-tat move.

Relations between the two countries have plummeted in recent months, with India blaming Pakistani fighters for a September raid on an army base in its part of disputed Kashmir that killed 19 soldiers.

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India said it responded by carrying out strikes across the heavily militarised border, although Islamabad denies these took place.

Tensions were already high before the attack, with deadly violence over the death on July 8 of a popular Kashmir rebel leader, 22-year-old Burhan Wani.

Nearly 90 people, most of them young protesters and some children, have been killed in clashes with security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir since then. Some 12,000 people have been wounded.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

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Source : Agence France Presse


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