Army rejects India's accusation of cross-LoC incursion as mere propaganda

Updated August 04, 2019

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Pakistan Army soldiers patrol on the Line of Control.— AP/File
Pakistan Army soldiers patrol on the Line of Control.— AP/File

Pakistan Army on Saturday rejected Indian accusations of a cross-Line of Control (LoC) incursion and resultant casualties.

Earlier in the day, the Indian Army had claimed it had “successfully foiled” a 'border action team' (BAT) operation by the Pakistan Army in the Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir, according to Times of India.

“Five to seven terrorists or Special Services Group (SSG) commandos from the Pakistan Army were killed in the unsuccessful BAT operation that began on the night of July 31. Four bodies have been seen lying on our [Indian] side of the LoC, in close proximity to our posts, but there is continuing cross-border firing in the sector,” an officer of the Indian Army was quoted as saying by Indian media.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a statement issued late Saturday, dismissed the above statement as mere propaganda meant to deflect from atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

The statement read, "Indian allegations of cross LOC action by Pakistan and possession of bodies are mere propaganda. Such blatant lies / staged dramas are Indian disinformation manoeuvre to divert world attention from increased atrocities by Indian occupation forces inside the occupied Kashmir."

The Foreign Office (FO) also rejected the Indian allegations. In a press release dated August 3, the FO added: "Curtailing Amarnath Yatra and deployment of additional troops on baseless pretexts are designed to divert [the] world’s attention from attempts to change the demographic structure of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and unabating state-led oppression and egregious human rights violations."

Earlier in the day, ISPR said that the Indian army used cluster ammunition to target the civilian population in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) across the LoC in violation of the Geneva Convention and international law.

According to the statement, the Indian military on the night of July 30/July 31 targeted innocent citizens including women and children in Neelum Valley through artillery using cluster ammunition. The attack left two civilians, including a 4-year-old boy, dead and 11 others were critically injured.

"This is [a] violation of Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law," the military's media wing said, adding that the use of cluster ammunition is prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Ammunition because of its severe impact on non-combatants.

Dropped from planes or fired from artillery, cluster bombs explode in mid-air, scattering bomblets, with many civilians getting killed or maimed by their indiscriminate, wide-area effect. They also pose a lasting threat as many bomblets fail to explode on impact.

Islamabad expresses concerns over deteriorating situation in occupied Kashmir

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office also issued a statement expressing "serious concern over the progressively deteriorating situation" in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

"There is a deepening anxiety and fear among the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir because of reports of deployment of additional 38,000 Indian paramilitary forces in recent weeks," read the statement.

"The advice to tourists, yatris and students to immediately leave the occupied Kashmir and messages urging people to store food supplies, have stoked further apprehensions."

The FO statement added that speculation has mounted that the Indian authorities might attempt to alter the demographic structure in occupied Kashmir and bring about a material change on the ground.

"As in the past, Pakistan is strongly opposed to any move that would seek to alter the demographic structure of the occupied Kashmir or change the internationally-disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir," the statement read, adding that any such move would be in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and seriously endanger peace and security in the region.

"The recent developments have been accompanied by increased level of ceasefire violations by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC). Between July 19 to August 3, unprovoked firing and use of heavy weaponry by India has led to six civilian deaths, injuries to 48 civilians, and damage to civilian infrastructure in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

"In the latest provocation, cluster ammunition has been used by the Indian Army against civilians in AJK, resulting in the martyrdom of 2 civilians, including a 4-year-old child, and critical injuries to 11 civilians."

The FO underlined that using cluster ammunition was in contravention of international humanitarian law.

According to the statement, Islamabad also rejected as 'self-serving' Indian assertions of “intelligence inputs” about some imminent “terrorist” attack in the occupied territory as a cover for new deployments.

"This is a familiar Indian ploy to externalise blame, use baseless allegations as a smokescreen, and persist with its state-sponsored repression against the Kashmiri people. We again caution the international community against any false flag operations."

The FO called upon the international community to take immediate cognisance of the deteriorating situation in occupied Kashmir, urge India to act responsibly, and counsel India to work towards "preserving rather than imperiling peace and security" in South Asia.

Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui