A man was killed and a young girl wounded in Bhimber district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Friday after Indian troops resorted to “unprovoked” shelling from across the restive line of control (LoC), the officials said.
Ghulam Nabi, 60, son of Noor Muhammad, was in his home in Naali village of Barnala sector when he was hit by a splinter from a mortar shell at around 10:30am, said Bhimber Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Guftar. The victim died on the spot, he added.
In Samahni sector of the same district, 10-year-old girl Chaman Niaz studying in grade five was injured when she was on the way to her school in Nihala Chahi village. She was, however, out of danger, Guftar said.
The Foreign Office (FO) summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh to protest “unprovoked ceasefire violations” by India.
“This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing” since 2017 despite calls for restraint from Islamabad, the FO said in a statement.
The FO urged India to respect the ceasefire, investigate the latest incidents and maintain peace on the frontier. It also asked India to allow the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan to play its mandated role in accordance with Security Council resolutions.
The heavily militarised LoC, as well as Working Boundary, have been witnessing frequent skirmishes and artillery duels, in a serious breach of a ceasefire agreement signed by both the armies in November 2003.
Tensions particularly mounted after an attack on an Indian army installation in Uri in September 2016 by suspected militants, in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed.
Following the attack, India had claimed to have conducted cross-border 'surgical strike' against what it called the 'launch-pads of terror' in AJK, in a bid to appease public sentiment. However, Pakistan has strongly rejected the claim.
Ever since, several casualties, most of them civilians, have occurred in cross-border shelling.
According to Zaheeruddin Qureshi, head of the AJK’s State Disaster Management Authority, 46 civilians had lost their lives and another 262 were injured in AJK in Indian shelling in 2017.
Casualties along the Working Boundary were in addition to the physical losses in AJK in the previous year.
Friday’s casualties along the LoC pushed the death toll in AJK in 2018 to two while as many have sustained injuries.
Along the Working Boundary, 2 women were killed and five others were wounded on Wednesday night.
According to the FO, Indian forces had committed more than 1,900 ceasefire violations along the LoC and Working Boundary in 2017 while the number was over 70 in 2018.
Pertinently, the leadership of Pakistan Rangers and India's Border Security Forces had agreed at a conference in New Delhi in November last year that the "spirit" of the 2003 truce accord must be revived to protect innocent lives.