ISLAMABAD, Oct 23: A military spokesman blamed India on Wednesday for a spike in ceasefire violations along the Working Boundary over the past two days.
“Indian troops have intensified violations and carried out unprovoked firing on the Working Boundary in Pukhlian, Chaprar, Harpal and Charwah sectors near Sialkot,” the spokesman said.
The latest phase of ceasefire violations along the heavily fenced Working Boundary started five days ago and intensified over the past couple of days.
The military spokesman said the Indian Border Security Force shelled Pakistani posts and population with 4,000 mortar rounds and 59,000 machinegun rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday alone. He said 27 Pakistani posts had been attacked and populated areas had also been hit.
Ceasefire violations have been taking place on the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir since the first week of August, except for a lull during September. However, the current phase is said to be the most serious along the Working Boundary since the skirmishes started.
Two civilians and a soldier have been killed during the past fortnight due to Indian shelling.
Talking to Dawn, a military official expressed apprehension that the intensification of hostilities by India along the de facto border was by design and the neighbouring country was expanding the theatre of conflict from the LoC to the relatively calm Working Boundary.
“We are already too occupied on the western border with Afghanistan to afford a conflict on the eastern border with India,” he said, denying Indian accusations of violating the decade-old ceasefire accord.
India also had accused Pakistani troops of shelling its border posts in Kashmir, terming the alleged violation the most serious since the ceasefire took effect.
The Pakistani military spokesman described attacks on Indian positions as a “response” to the Indian shelling.
An Indian border guard is reported to have been killed in Jammu in an attack on a post.
The sudden deterioration in the situation coincided with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the United States in which his government’s approach to regional issues, particularly ties with India and Afghanistan, are coming under focus.
A military contact between the two neighbours took place on Tuesday at the level of the directors of military operations who are reported to have reviewed the situation.
However, the contact between the directors general of military operations (DGMOs) of the two countries, agreed by Prime Minister Sharif and his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh during their meeting in New York last month for addressing the tensions, has so far not been scheduled.
Reacting to the death of the BSF guard, Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Pakistani attacks would be met with a “befitting” reply.
A Pakistani official indicated that patience in the army over violations by India was also running thin.