MUZAFFARABAD/SIALKOT: Six more Pakistani civilians lost their lives and 25 others were injured as unabated and unprovoked firing and shelling by Indian troops from across the Working Boundary and the Line of Control (LoC) continued in Sialkot border villages and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday.
Villages in Phookaliyaan-Bajwat, Chaprar, Sucheetgarh, Harpal, Bajra Garhi, Charwah and Zafarwal-Shakargarh sectors along the Sialkot Working Boundary came under attack in which four people were killed and 19 others injured.
The deceased were identified as Najaf Batool, 27, and her three-year-old son Ali Haider in Pandhiyaali-Patoli village, Muhammad Bashir, 70, of Chaprar village and Muhammad Shabir, 55, of Panjwal village in the Phookaliyaan-Bajwat sector. They were laid to rest later in the day.
The injured were taken to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Sialkot’s Cantonment where doctors declared the condition of six of them as critical.
Sialkot Deputy Commissioner Dr Farrukh Naveed said the firing by Indian troops continued the whole day on Saturday. While most residents of the border villages had left for safe locations, a sizeable number of cattle left tethered at their homes were killed, he added.
Meanwhile, students of various schools and colleges held an anti-war rally in Chawinda, Pasrur tehsil, on Saturday. All educational institutions have been shut down in the wake of mortar shelling.
In AJK, casualties occurred in different villages of Nakyal sector in Kotli district.
Indian troops targeted these villages intermittently throughout Friday’s night and fiercely during the whole day on Saturday, said Waleed Anwar, Assistant Commissioner of Nakyal.
“The area received shells in most parts of the night, but from 11.30am to 1.30pm, shelling was intense and indiscriminate,” he told Dawn on phone.
Some of the shells landed on some houses in Tarkundi village, located barely few hundred yards before the LoC, leaving 23-year old Nafeesa Saleem dead and four others from her family injured, he said.
He identified the injured as Sahiba Matloob, 23, her seven-month old daughter Noor Fatima, Nasim Akhtar, 40, and Muhammad Ejaz, 27.
In Datot High Dharra village, Dil Muhammad, 50, lost his life while his married niece Farzana Kausar was injured, Mr Anwar said.
Mohammad Shabbir, 53, was injured in Tarkundi village past midnight, he added.
Mr Anwar said the victims were evacuated to health facilities only after the intensity of shelling subsided.
Dr Tariq Mehmood, medical superintendent at the Kotli’s district headquarters hospital told Dawn on phone that three patients were brought to his facility. Of them, an infant had got four fingers of her right hand blown up while her mother had received injuries in head, he said.
The mother and child were being treated here but the third patient, Ms Akhtar, had been referred to a military hospital in Rawalpindi, because she had received multiple splinter injuries, he added.
Agencies add: AFP reported Indian Army spokesman Colonel N.N. Joshi as saying that one of their soldiers was killed in Poonch sector, India-held Kashmir, on Saturday allegedly by the firing of Pakistan’s troops.
According to AP, Indian police accused Pakistan’s soldiers of targeting Indian border posts and villages with mortar shells and automatic gunfire in which two civilians, one of them a teenage boy, were killed on Saturday.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2018