Pakistan says four civilians killed by Indian shelling across LoC

Pakistani army accuses Indian troops of ‘unprovoked’ fire in disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over the mountainous territory of Kashmir [File: Channi Anand/AP]
Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over the mountainous territory of Kashmir [File: Channi Anand/AP]

Islamabad, Pakistan – At least four civilians have been killed by Indian shelling inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Pakistan’s military and local officials said.

Three people were killed in the Nakyal region, while a fourth person died after a shell hit her home in the Baghsar area, the military said in a statement released late on Wednesday.

“Indian Army troops initiated unprovoked [ceasefire violations] in Nakyal and Bagsar Sectors along LoC targeting civ[ilian] population,” Pakistan’s military press wing said in a brief statement on Twitter.

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In the village of Dadot, about 200m (655 feet) from the highly militarised but not always clearly demarcated Line of Control (LoC), two teenagers and a man were killed by a single shell, hospital officials told Al Jazeera.

“Three people died at the spot, and they have just been buried,” Nasrullah Khan told Al Jazeera by telephone. “There was a single shell, and the three boys, who were cousins, were all standing together.”

The woman, a resident of the Baghsar area located about 120km southeast of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, died when a shell hit her home, local media quoted senior police official Mir Muhammad Abid as saying.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office summoned Gaurav Ahluwalia, the Charge d’Affaires at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, to register its “strong protest” at the violence.

Brink of war

Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over the mountainous territory of Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of, divided by the LoC.

A 2003 ceasefire is in place but is frequently violated by both sides, with a large number of military personnel and artillery units posted along most of the roughly 650km de facto border.

This year, at least 12 people have been killed and more than 102 wounded in Pakistan-administered Kashmir from Indian firing across the LoC, according to Pakistani government data.

Data on casualties in Indian-administered Kashmir has not been released, but earlier this year Indian Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik told parliament that Pakistan had violated the ceasefire at least 646 times between January 1 and February 23.

Anti-India clashes after soldiers kill man in Kashmir

Tensions between the South Asian neighbours remain high since last year, when the nuclear-armed countries came to the brink of war following Indian airstrikes on Pakistani territory and an aerial skirmish that saw an Indian fighter jet pilot shot down.

Earlier this week, India engaged in military skirmishes with China on the de facto border between Indian-administered Kashmir and the Chinese territory of Aksai Chin in the Galwan Valley.

At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed, with an unspecified number of casualties incurred by China.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.

Source : Al Jazeera

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