A five-year-old girl was killed on Saturday when an Indian soldier opened fire in Azad Kashmir along the Line of Control (LoC), said local officials and witnesses.

According to police official Javed Iqbal, the orphan girl was killed when a single bullet by an Indian soldier hit her as she stood in the courtyard of her house in Polas village of Abbaspur sector in the southern Poonch district.

The girl, who had dressed up to celebrate Eid, was shifted to the nearest medical centre in Abbaspur on a motorbike after the incident. However, she succumbed to the gunshot, the official told DawnNews.

Enraged residents of Polas and adjoining areas carried the girl's body from the hospital to Abbaspur Bridge, where a protest was held against the “apathy of the state and the government towards the plight of the people living along the LoC”.

Speakers at the protest claimed that the civil administration and army had assured them of security at the LoC, “but had failed to keep their promise”.

“The protesters are demanding that the deputy commissioner or any other senior officer hold talks with them, but so far no one has turned up, perhaps because almost all officers are on leave to celebrate Eid with their families,” a local journalist, Badiuz Zaman, present at the protest site told DawnNews.

Zaman said that the protestors were demanding the construction of “colonies in relatively safer areas” for the residents of the locations highly vulnerable to Indian guns.

About a month ago, a number of families in areas within the Abbaspur sector had left their homes due to intense and indiscriminate cross-border shelling. Later, some of the families returned but others have not.

After the protests on Saturday, the girl's body was shifted to a roadside house where her last rites were performed.

Later in the evening, the funeral prayers of the deceased were offered. The prayers were performed twice due to the presence of a large number of mourners, Zaman said.

Abbaspur's tehsildar Malick Haleem reached the spot shortly after the funerals to hold talks with the demonstrators.

According to Zaman, the demonstrators made it clear to Haleem that if the government did not announce the construction of colonies for the LoC residents by Thursday, they would stage a massive demonstration on Friday.

After the talks between the demonstrators and the tehsildar, the girl's body was taken for burial in Batol village.

The heavily militarised LoC that splits the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan has been witnessing sporadic skirmishes and artillery duels for quite some time, in serious violation of a truce agreement signed by both sides in 2003.

Earlier this year in June, Zaheeruddin Qureshi, the director general of the Disaster Management Authority had informed the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs that unprovoked firing by Indian forces across the LoC had claimed 832 lives, injured 3,000 people and damaged 3,300 houses.

Opinion

Karachi development
Updated 13 Apr 2021

Karachi development

Our planners must learn that infrastructure and services are essential to economic progress.
The government’s emerging traits
Updated 12 Apr 2021

The government’s emerging traits

Frequent bureaucratic changes signify a whimsical way of governing and reflect knee-jerk reactions to the criticism of the day.

Editorial

Reform after Daska
Updated 13 Apr 2021

Reform after Daska

Electoral malpractice generates instability and delegitimises the mandate of the winner, triggering one crisis after another.
13 Apr 2021

Reinstating LGs

THE PTI government in Punjab is sending confused and conflicting signals to people when it comes to the critical...
13 Apr 2021

Remembering I.A. Rehman

THE quest for a progressive society in Pakistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours, suffered a big setback in...
Pakistan-India peace
Updated 12 Apr 2021

Pakistan-India peace

Experts note that everything — including Kashmir — can be resolved if there is a will in both capitals.
12 Apr 2021

Child abuse

IN its annual report, the NGO Sahil found that there has been a 4pc increase in documented cases of major crimes...
12 Apr 2021

New tax chief’s task

THE FBR got a new chairman on Friday. Asim Ahmed, a senior IRS officer who was serving as the Board’s IT member...