Two civilians were wounded in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Monday after Indian troops hit a vehicle from across the Line of Control (LoC), a local police official said.

The latest ceasefire violation coincided with the visit of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to the heavily militarised border which splits the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

“A Suzuki van was coming to Hajira from Goi (Kotli) when it was targeted by Indian troops near Madarpur at about 2pm, without any provocation,” police official Mohammad Shakeel told Dawn from the area.

“As a result, two persons on board the vehicle were injured,” he added, identifying the victims as Musharraf Iqbal and Hafiz Naveed.

The former, who sustained a bullet wound in his right leg, was taken to Hajira for treatment, while the latter, having sustained a bullet wound in his chest, was taken to District Headquarters Hospital Kotli, the official said.

Earlier in the day, COAS Gen Bajwa had visited the LoC in an unspecified sector, where he was apprised of the recent “abnormally frequent” ceasefire violations by Indian troops as well as the “effective response” from the Pakistani side.

According to a handout from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief was told that the only restraint faced by the Pakistani troops was "the professional ethos of Pakistan Army that barred them from responding in kind when Indian troops targeted innocent civilians along (the) LoC".

The LoC has been witnessing regular cross-border attacks which have left scores of civilian dead or wounded in AJK.

Indian troops have reportedly been targeting civilian houses as well as vehicles on this side of the LoC, locals say.

In one such incident in November last year, a total of 12 passengers were killed when a public transport vehicle was targeted by Indian troops with mortars in Neelum valley. Hardly three weeks after that incident, a school van was hit in the Nakyal sector of Kotli district, leaving its driver dead and eight students wounded.

Last month, four soldiers embraced martyrdom after their truck was hit by Indian troops in Neelum valley.

According to Zaheeruddin Qureshi, head of the AJK Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), 39 civilians were killed and another 132 injured in Indian shelling in AJK in 2016.

In the ongoing year, 24 civilians have so far lost their lives to India’s “unprovoked and indiscriminate shelling”, while another 170 have received injuries, he said.

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