MUZAFFARABAD: Heavy shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) left eight civilians, including four women, injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Thursday.

The shelling started early in the morning and hit different villages in the Khuiratta and Charhoi sectors of Kotli district. “The injuries, however, only occurred in one village in the Khuiratta sector,” SSP Raja Irfan Saleem told Dawn.

Residents of Khuiratta described the shelling as the heaviest in several weeks.

A video clip made by a villager from Khuiratta showed shells landing in a field and emitting smoke. Some houses were partially damaged.

SSP Saleem said that eight people had been wounded in Sehri Chattar — a village that lies in close proximity to the LoC.

The injured were identified as Shahnawaz, 24; his 18-year-old brother Ahtisham, Muhammad Farooq, 25; Fareeha, 35; her 16-year-old daughter Amina Ilyas, Shaheena, 40; Tussaraf Begum, 35; and Muhammad Fiaz, 50.

“Amina was sent to Rawalpindi due to her critical condition while others are being treated at the District Headquarters Hospital in Kotli,” said medical superintendent Dr Tariq Mehmood.

While there has been no official statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on the LoC situation, residents claimed that the Pakistani troops responded to India’s unprovoked shelling.

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, and as a result civilian casualties are taking place frequently.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2018

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