As India-held Kashmir braced for stepped-up policing Saturday on the occasion of the first death anniversary of famed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, Indian troops resorted to heavy shelling in different areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir from across the Line of Control (LoC), officials said.

At least five civilians, four of them women, were reported killed and 10 others injured in the shelling incidents, the highest death toll in a single day in many months of cross-border violence.

“There has been heavy firing and shelling by Indian troops in different parts of Abbaspur and Hajira sectors since 5:30am in the morning,” said Raja Tahir Mumtaz, the deputy commissioner of district Poonch, where these two sectors fall in.

He said Mohammad Sharif, a 75-year-old resident of Bhaira village near the Tetrinote crossing point in Hajira sector, lost his life after a mortar shell landed on his mud-house, destroying it completely.

Apart from him, 70-year-old woman Sassi Begum was also killed in Tetrinote. She had come from Mandhol village in Battal sector to see her relatives in Tetrinote.

DC Mumtaz said Riyasat, 35, and Aqsa Iftikhar, 18, were injured in Tetrinote.

Meanwhile, a 26-year-old woman, Faiza Saleem, was killed and two young girls — Adiba, 22, and Mahnoor, 17 — were injured in Satwal village of Abbaspur sector. They belonged to the same family, Mumtaz said.

Another woman, Kulsoom, 35, was killed and her 14-year-old son Zahid injured in the Dhakki Chafar village of Abbaspur sector, he added.

“Initially, Zahid was injured and when Kulsoom rushed to rescue him, she too fell victim to the shelling and died on the spot,” the deputy commissioner said.

Abida Parveen, 22, was injured in Chafar and two teenaged boys, Rizwan Hanif, 16, and Faizan Ali, 14, were injured in Batol and Chaatra villages of the same sector, he added.

“These are the initial reports, but given the magnitude of shelling, I am afraid the casualties may rise,” the deputy commissioner said.

In Kotli district, a 22-year-old girl, Aniba Jamshed, was critically injured in Indian firing in the Lanjot village of Nakyal sector at about 6:30am.

"A bullet fired by the Indian troops hit her in the head, rendering her critically wounded," a police official told Dawn from Nakyal police station, adding that she was rushed to District Headquarters Hospital Kotli.

“The woman [later] succumbed to her injuries in the afternoon,” SSP Kotli Chaudhry Zulqarnain Sarfraz told Dawn.

Elsewhere in the same sector, two men — Mohammad Ilyas and Jahangir — were injured in the Oli Panjni village, he added.

The heavily militarised LoC that splits the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir between Pakistan and India has been extremely tense for quite some time, and as a result civilian casualties occur frequently.

The latest casualties have pushed the number of those killed in AJK in Indian shelling during the ongoing year to 18 and those injured to over 105, according to officials at the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).

FO lodges protest with India

The Foreign Office (FO) summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh to lodge a protest against the "unprovoked" ceasefire violation.

The FO's Director General (South Asia and Saarc), Dr Muhammad Faisal, lodged the protest.

"The deliberate targeting of civilians is deplorable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws," Faisal said.

He urged India to respect the 2003 ceasefire agreement, to investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations, to instruct Indian forces to respect the agreement, and to maintain peace on LoC.

Opinion

Big win, bigger challenges
19 Sep 2021

Big win, bigger challenges

Pakistan should be smug. It is not. There are a number of likely scenarios that must be the source of its unease.
Power of stays
19 Sep 2021

Power of stays

Great power means no one dare ask you questions.
Local decay
18 Sep 2021

Local decay

The set-up in Sindh exercises total control over LG functions.

Editorial

Talking to the Taliban
Updated 19 Sep 2021

Talking to the Taliban

PRIME Minister Imran Khan has announced that he has started a dialogue with the Taliban for the formation of a...
19 Sep 2021

New Zealand’s departure

THERE was chaos and despair when New Zealand decided to call off their tour of Pakistan barely minutes before the...
19 Sep 2021

Crucial polio campaign

THE national vaccination campaign that kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday is being described by experts as...
Blinken’s remarks
Updated 18 Sep 2021

Blinken’s remarks

The US establishment cannot scapegoat Pakistan for two decades of bad policy in Afghanistan.
18 Sep 2021

Worrying survey

THE findings of the Labour Force Survey 2018-19 indicate that some important headline trends have already taken or...
18 Sep 2021

Special needs

THE fact that only 3,653 children with special needs, out of some 300,000 in Sindh, are registered with the...