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MUZAFFARABAD/ISLAMABAD: Seven army personnel “embraced martyrdom” in Indian shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC), the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday.

Following the attack — the bloodiest in terms of military casualties in a single day since both sides signed a ceasefire agreement in 2003 — Pakistan asked the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to report Indian escalation along the LoC and Working Boundary to the United Nations Security Council.

The seven men were killed by what officials described as “continuous” and “unprovoked” firing from the Indian side in the southernmost Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) district of Bhimber.

“Pakistani troops while responding to the unprovoked Indian firing targeted Indian posts effectively,” the ISPR statement added.


Deadliest incident of firing in more than a decade; UNMOGIP asked to report Indian aggression to Security Council


The men were identified as Havaldar Zafar Hussain of Murree; Havaldar Ibrar Ahmed Awan of Muzaffarabad; Lance Naik Muhammad Shoukat Ali of Forward Kahuta, AJK; Lance Naik Muhammad Haleem of Lakki Marwat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Sepoy Pervez Akram of Athmuqam, AJK; Sepoy Mohammad Ilyas of Talagang, Punjab; and Sepoy Muhammad Tanweer of Samahni, AJK.

Their funeral prayers were offered in Jhelum and attended by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, after which their mortal remains were dispatched to their native areas for burial with full military honours.

While in Jhelum, the army chief was also briefed on the LoC situation. He reiterated the armed forces’ determination by saying, “We will continue to respond effectively and leave no stone unturned to defend the motherland”.

Diplomatic efforts

“Pakistan is urging the UNMOGIP to send an urgent report to the UN Security Council to inform them about the serious ceasefire violations on the LoC and the unwarranted escalation of tensions between the two countries,” Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Monday.

India does not allow UNMOGIP — one of the first missions ever deployed by the UN — to function according to its mandate and report to the Security Council.

Over the past couple of months Indian forces have intensified shelling of areas along the LoC and Working Boundary. At least 26 civilians have been killed so far on the Pakistani side.

Expressing concern over the increased frequency and duration of indiscriminate shelling from the Indian side, Mr Aziz feared that India’s actions, which threatened peace and security, might lead to a strategic miscalculation.

Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale was also summoned to the Foreign Office to lodge Islamabad’s protest over the attack. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry also told Indian envoy Bambawale that there were apprehensions that the belligerent attitude of Indian occupation forces could lead to a strategic miscalculation.

Condemnation

The top leadership from across the national spectrum also came together to condemn the Indian aggression and reiterated their resolve to defend the country.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that India was shelling areas across LoC to distract the world from the human rights abuses it was committing in the occupied valley. “We are fully capable of defending our soil against any aggression.”

“There is an indigenous uprising against Indian occupation and the Indian government is failing to read the writing on the wall,” PM Sharif added.

AJK President Sardar Masood Khan also vowed revenge. “Let it be clear to India that a befitting response would be given by the Pakistan Army to this dastardly and cowardly act,” he said.

AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider condemned “unprovoked” Indian shelling and expressed profound grief and sorrow over the loss of precious human lives.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2016