MUZAFFARABAD: Two more civilians were injured in Azad Jammu and Kash­mir (AJK) on Wednesday as there was no let-up in shelling by Indian troops in some areas along the Line of Control (LoC), officials said.

Babu Khan, 75, was injured in Nali village of Barnala tehsil and Azmat Bibi, 55, was injured in Gawlian village of Samahni tehsil in Bhimber district, said deputy commissioner Sardar Khalid Mahmood.

He said there was intermittent shelling in his district almost throughout the day.

At least six houses were damaged in Samahni tehsil, he said.

“At the moment the shelling has stopped, but the calm might not last long,” he feared.

Poonch deputy commissioner Shaukat Yusufzai said there had been intermittent firing in the Battal sector overnight, but Wednesday was by and large peaceful.

Although the situation also remained “better” in the neighbouring Kotli district as well, according to deputy commissioner Dr Umer Azam. Indian troops, however, did resort to firing sparingly in the Tatta Pani sector.

“Thanks there were no casualties,” he said.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media affairs wing of the Pakistan army, also confirmed the casualties in Bhimber district.

“Indian Army troops undertook firing in the Baghsar sector, targeting civilian population. Resul­tantly, two civilians got injured,” it said.

The ISPR also rejected India’s allegations that Pak­istan army was targeting civilian population across the LoC in occupied Kashmir.

“Pakistan Army has many a time expressed its ethical stance of never targeting civilian population being a highly professional force, let alone already suppressed Kashmiri brethren across LoC in occupied Kashmir,” the ISPR said.

“Deliberate targeting of innocent civilians in AJK by Indian army shall never go unnoticed and Pakistan army will defend the citizens at all cost through effective and targeted response,” it added.

“In air and maritime domains Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy continue maintaining state of vigilance and alertness.”

The heavily militarised LoC that splits the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between the nuclear armed rivals had been very tense after Indian jets intruded into the Pakistani airspace on Feb 26 and jettisoned their payload in Balakot.

Only a day after that incident, Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian jets in Bhimber district.

Ever since, five civilians have been martyred and around 35 others wounded in Indian shelling in different areas of AJK.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2019

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