8 wounded by Indian shelling across LoC

Published February 1, 2018
A man injured in cross-border shelling in Azad Jammu and Kashmir receiving medical attention. ─ Photo by author
A man injured in cross-border shelling in Azad Jammu and Kashmir receiving medical attention. ─ Photo by author

Indian shelling from across the restive Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday left at least eight civilians, including four women, wounded in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

According to AJK officials, the shelling that began in the morning targeted different villages in Khuiratta sector of Kotli district. Residents described it as the “heaviest” shelling in many weeks.

“They targeted civilian populations with heavy weapons, scaring women and children,” said Chaudhry Zarafat, a resident of Khuiratta sector.

A video clip of the latest instance of ceasefire violations made by a villager in Khuiratta shows shells landing in a field, emitting smoke. The sound of shelling can also be heard in the footage.

Kotli Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raja Irfan Saleem told Dawn that at least eight people were wounded in the village of Sehri Chattar in Khuiratta.

The boundary wall of a house suffers damage by shelling across the Line of Control in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. ─ Photo by author
The boundary wall of a house suffers damage by shelling across the Line of Control in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. ─ Photo by author

He identified them as Shahnawaz, 24, his 18-year-old brother Ehtisham, 25-year-old Muhammad Farooq, 35-year-old Fareeha, her 16-year-old daughter Amina Ilyas, 40-year-old Shaheena, 25-year-old Tussaraf Begum, and 50-year-old Muhammad Fiaz.

"Amina was referred to Rawalpindi on account of her critical condition, while all other injured were treated at Kotli's District Headquarters Hospital," Medical Superintendent Dr Tariq Mehmood said.

The worst hit sector in Kotli has been Nakyal where dozens of people have fallen victim to the fresh spate of ceasefire violations by Indian troops.

Though there is no statement as yet from the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on the situation along the LoC, residents said Pakistan Army troops had responded to India’s “unprovoked shelling”.

SSP Saleem said that the Charhoi sector in Kotli had also been targeted by Indian troops but fortunately no casualty was reported from there.

The heavily militarised LoC is frequently witnessing ceasefire violations, in a serious breach of a truce agreement signed by the rival troops in November 2003.

Indian troops committed over 170 ceasefire violations across the LoC and Working Boundary (WB) in January 2018, according to information provided to the Senate by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif last month.

At least 11 civilians have died, whereas 59 others have been injured in the recent spurt of LoC violations.

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