MUZAFFARABAD / SIALKOT: Firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) on Saturday claimed the life of a young woman and injured two others in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as two federal ministers visited areas along the Working Boundary near Sialkot to express solidarity with people affected by shelling by India’s Border Security Force (BSF).
Assistant Commissioner Waleed Anwar said the casualties were reported from Nakyal sector of southern Kotli in AJK after a longish lull in Indian shelling in the area.
Twenty two-year-old Tasheeba Iqbal, daughter of Raja Iqbal, died on the spot while her sister Aneeqa Iqbal was critically injured when shrapnel from a mortar shell hit them in the Balakot village at 7.35pm, he told Dawn by phone.
Two ministers visit areas along Working Boundary
Earlier in the day, 16-year-old Mohammad Liaquat received a bullet wound in his right leg in Oli Panjni village after the Indian troops resorted to small arms fire without any provocation, he added.
During their visit to areas along the Working Boundary near Sialkot, federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid and Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal expressed solidarity with those affected by Indian shelling and said Pakistani forces were capable of responding to Indian aggression in an effective manner.
While talking to journalists at the Combined Military Hospital in Sialkot, where the two ministers had gone to inquire after the injured, Mr Hamid said the government planned to build special bunkers along the 190-kilometre Working Boundary to protect people living in nearby villages from shelling by BSF.
He said a multi-phase plan had already been approved to build special bunkers where the people living in border areas would be able to reside at times of crises, thereby saving them from casualties.
The two ministers described the shelling as barbaric but said “our armed forces” were fully capable of responding to the aggression in an effective manner.
For his part, Mr Iqbal said that Indian forces were violating ceasefire in the area in a bid to divert the world’s attention from the atrocities their comrades were committing in India-held Kashmir.
Earlier, officials of the Punjab Rangers gave a comprehensive briefing to the two ministers. Both Mr Hamid and Mr Iqbal then visited the affected areas in the Charwah, Sucheetgarh and Harpal sectors along the Working Boundary.
Meanwhile, dozens of houses were damaged and many head of cattle were killed and injured in unprovoked shelling by the BSF men in Chaprar, Harpal, Charwah, Sucheetgarh and Zafarwal-Shakargarh sectors along the Working Boundary on Friday night and early Saturday morning.
However, no injury or loss of life was reported from anywhere. According to sources, the Punjab Rangers personnel gave a befitting response to the Indian forces.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2017