MUZAFFARABAD: As shelling by Indian troops injured another 13 people, eight women and a toddler among them, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday visited the restive Line of Control (LoC).
According to officials and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), five people were injured in Khuiratta and Charhoi sectors of Kotli district and eight in Samahni and Baroh sectors of the southernmost Bhimber district. The condition of some of them was said to be critical.
The army issued a stern warning to India against any misadventure along the LoC. “The Indian army has been targeting innocent civilians on both sides of the Line of Control in recent past. Any misadventure by Indian army across the Line of Control will be a miscalculation, shall be responded with full force and could lead to unintended consequences,” the day’s third ISPR statement on the LoC situation said on Saturday night.
COAS visits troops in Nakyal sector
“Indian troops resumed shelling at 7am without any provocation, targeting the civilian population,” said Chaudhry Zulqarnain Sarfraz, Senior Superintendent of Police in Kotli district.
“There was intense and indiscriminate shelling for about one-and-a-half hours, but it stopped later.” The official said Mohammad Younus, 35, Samina, 30, and Rehana, 26, were injured in Nidhi Sohana village of Khuiratta sector and Afraz Begum, 42, and Musarrat Bibi, 55, in Sabzkot village of Charhoi sector.
In Samahni and Baroh sectors, shelling continued intermittently till the evening, according to Bhimber Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Guftaar Hussain. He said that Mohammad Sharif, 58, in Chahi village; Nisar Ahmed, 26, in Tander village; Anila Bibi in Kathyala village; Lubna Mehfooz, 26, and her two-year-old son Abdul Mueez in Danna village; and Zamurd Begum, 58, Shazia Parveen, 37, and Muhammad Inzimam, 17, in Baroh village were injured.
An ISPR statement issued in the afternoon said Pakistani troops were befittingly responding to the unprovoked Indian firing.
Another statement issued in the evening said ceasefire violations by India had continued throughout the day.
Indian media reported that shelling had caused at least two deaths and left three people injured on the India-held side of the LoC.
The COAS visited the troops deployed along the LoC in Nakyal sector of Kotli district. According to the ISPR, he praised the high state of operational readiness, effective response to Indian ceasefire violations and high morale of the troops, after the army’s local commander briefed him on the situation.
Meanwhile, the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs has written a letter to the United Nations secretary general, highlighting the Indian attempts to bring demographic changes in India-held Jammu and Kashmir, according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry.
Gen Bajwa also went to the home in Dharra, near Khuiratta, of Lt Raja Khawar Shahab of 35 Punjab Regiment, said to be the first martyred officer of the ongoing Operation Raddul Fasaad.
Our staff reporter in Islamabad contributed to the report
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2017