MUZAFFARABAD: Two people were injured in an Azad Jammu and Kashmir village on Tuesday in unprovoked firing from across the Line of Control (LoC), officials said.

“Indian troops resorted to unprovoked shelling in Chirikot sector in the morning, using both small and heavy arms and targeting civilian population,” said a police official in Forward Kahuta, the headquarters of Haveli district.

Pakistani troops responded with a view “to silencing Indian guns”, he added while requesting anonymity.

According to him, Ayesha Yousuf, a 10-year-old girl, and Noureen Bashir, a 22-year-old married woman, were injured in Seerhiyan village in the Indian firing.

Former AJK minister and PPP’s regional secretary general Raja Faisal Rathore said the victims were caught off guard as they were busy in their routine life when the Indian troops started shelling without any provocation.

“It is very unfortunate that Indian troops are brazenly targeting civilian population while resorting to frequent ceasefire violations,” he told Dawn.

Although India and Pakistan signed a historic truce in November 2003, the LoC and Working Boundary have frequently been witnessing ceasefire violations for more than two years now.

In May this year, the directors general of military operations of India and Pakistan agreed to undertake sincere measures to improve the situation, ensuring peace and avoidance of hardship to the civilians along the LoC and Working Boundary.

They had also agreed to fully implement the ceasefire understanding of 2003 in letter and in spirit to ensure that henceforth the ceasefire was not violated by the two sides. However, ceasefire violations, which include heavy shelling as well as sniper attacks, have not stopped.

According to AJK government officials, 27 civilians, eight of them women, have lost their lives due to Indian shelling in different areas of Azad Kashmir this year, while another 153 (81 men and 72 women) have suffered injuries.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018