An elderly woman was killed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Tuesday after being hit by a single shot fired by an Indian soldier from across the Line of Control (LoC), officials said.
Imam Bibi, wife of Sher Wali, was busy in household chores in the courtyard of her home in the Polas Kakuta village of Abbaspur sector when she received a fatal gunshot wound in her neck at about 3pm, said Raja Tahir Mumtaz, deputy commissioner of Poonch district.
The 78-year-old died on the spot, he added.
Polas Kakuta is located in the closest proximity of the heavily militarised LoC, which has been witnessing frequent ceasefire violations in serious breach of a 14-year truce agreement between the armies of India and Pakistan.
Qazi Arslan, a local policeman, told Dawn that most families from the highly vulnerable areas along the LoC had already moved out due to relentless cross-border shelling, but some were still living there in an incredible show of bravery and resilience.
“This woman was hit by some trigger-happy Indian soldier based in one of their posts across the divide. The post can be seen with the naked eye by residents on our side,” he said.
He added that the victim was among those who had moved out of the area and had only recently returned to her home. She had willed to be buried in the same area, in accordance of which, she will be buried on Wednesday with a guard of honour by the police, Arslan informed.
Though the LoC has been relatively calm since late last month, sporadic ceasefire violations by Indian troops continue to cause harm in AJK.
On Sunday, a 10-year-old boy, playing in the courtyard of his home in Battal sector of Tehsil Hajira, was critically wounded after Indian troops resorted to firing without any provocation.
Earlier, two women were killed and six others wounded in heavy Indian shelling in the Leepa valley of Muzaffarabad division on October 24.
According to military sources, India has committed around 1,141 ceasefire violations this year — the highest compared to other years since November 2003, when the two armies had struck a historic truce agreement.
As a result of the violations, 42 civilians (24 of them men and 18 women) have lost their lives while another 248 have sustained injuries in different areas of AJK in the ongoing year, according to the State Disaster Management Authority.
On Friday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had visited the LoC in the company of Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, where he strongly condemned India’s “unprofessional approach” of targeting innocent civilians from across the divide.
Interestingly, the same day, the 44th meeting annual between Pakistan Rangers and India’s Border Security Force (BSF) had concluded in New Delhi, where, among many other things, the loss of innocent lives as a result of ceasefire violations and unprovoked firing was also discussed.
The leaders of the two forces had agreed to revive the spirit of the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two armies to overcome this ordeal.