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At least six people, including four women, were killed and 20 others injured near the Working Boundary in Sialkot on Thursday as Indian forces "resorted to unprovoked firing of mortars targeting civilians", local administration and the army's media wing said.

A victim of cross-border firing being given aid in an ambulance. ─ Photo by author
A victim of cross-border firing being given aid in an ambulance. ─ Photo by author

Earlier, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said that four people were killed by firing and mortar shelling in the village of Bini Sulariyan in the Charwah sector.

However, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Dr Farrukh Naveed told DawnNews that the number of dead had risen to six people, who he identified as Mariam Mahmood, Mariam Ishaq, Nafees Bibi, Khursheed Bibi, Ashraf Mansoor and Imran Ghani.

A house damaged by mortar shelling. ─ Photo by author
A house damaged by mortar shelling. ─ Photo by author

At least 20 people were also injured in the cross-border firing and shelling in the Harpal, Sajeetgarh and Charwah sectors, he said, adding that Indian forces have been targeting civilians in the area for the past week.

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A large number of livestock was also killed and wounded in the shelling, he said.

A mortar shell recovered from the site of the firing. ─ Photo by author
A mortar shell recovered from the site of the firing. ─ Photo by author

The DC said that hospitals in the area had been placed on high alert, and that four relief camps had been set up in Chobara, Dalowali, Pindibhago and Wark which are near the Working Boundary.

The Pakistan Rangers "befittingly responded on posts targeting [the] civilian population," ISPR said.

The heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary have witnessed sporadic skirmishes and artillery duels since the alleged Indian 'surgical strike' last September, in violation of the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement signed by both countries.

Earlier this month, a five-year-old girl was killed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir when an Indian soldier opened fire across the LoC.

The orphan 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.

Protests were held in the area against the "apathy of the state and the government towards the plight of the people living along the LoC" after the incident.

More recently, an elderly man was killed in a cross-border exchange of fire.