Indian envoy summoned after 22-year-old mother of two dies in cross-LoC firing

Published November 3, 2018
Munazza Bibi was shot when she turned on a torch to look for something in her veranda, says SSP. — Photo/File
Munazza Bibi was shot when she turned on a torch to look for something in her veranda, says SSP. — Photo/File

A mother of two was killed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir's (AJK) Lawana Khetar village by a gunshot from across the restive Line of Control (LoC), officials said on Saturday.

Twenty-two year old Munazza Bibi died in her home on Friday night, said Chaudhry Zulqarnain Sarfraz, senior superintendent of police (SSP) in Bhimbar.

Lawana Khetar is barely a kilometre away from the heavily militarised LoC.

The victim was shot by a sniper from an Indian army post across the LoC when she switched on a torch to search for something in the veranda of her house, the SSP said.

The bullet pierced her head and she died on the spot, he added.

Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh in this regard and conveyed Pakistan's condemnation of the unprovoked cease-fire violation that led to her death.

Bibi's casualty has raised the death toll in AJK in the ongoing year to 27 — 19 men and 8 women.

Apart from them, another 146 — 77 men and 69 women — have sustained injuries, according to Saeed Qureshi, a senior official of the AJK State Disaster Management Authority.

Cross-border shelling in the current year has also left at least 29 houses partially damaged and three houses and a shop completely damaged, he said.

Though India and Pakistan are signatories to a November 2003 truce, the LoC and Working Boundary have consistently witnessed ceasefire violations for more than two years now.

In May this year, the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan had agreed to undertake "sincere measures" to improve the existing situation, ensure peace and avoid difficulties for civilians living close to the LoC and the Working Boundary.

They had also agreed to fully implement the ceasefire understanding of 2003 in letter and spirit and ensure that the ceasefire would not be violated by both sides.

However, ceasefire violations and sniper attacks have not stopped despite the agreement.

Of late, apart from exchange of fire with small and big arms, Indian troops have started using snipers in their attacks from across the LoC.

FO issues statement

The foreign office issued a statement condemning the ceasefire violation along the LoC by Indian forces in the Bhimbar Sector which led to the death of 22-year-old Munazza Bibi in Pakka Kothavillage.

Pakistan has urged the Indian side to investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations and instruct the Indian forces to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement in letter and spirit in order to maintain peace on the LoC and the working boundary.

Dr Faisal said that the Indian side should permit UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan) to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

According to the foreign office statement, the Indian forces along the LoC and the Working Boundary are continuously targeting civilian populated areas with heavy weapons, with more than 2,312 ceasefire violations in 2018 alone, leading to the death of 35 innocent civilians and injury to 135 others.

This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing since 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1970 ceasefire violations, the statement added.

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