A soldier of the Pakistan Army was martyred in firing by Indian forces from across the Line of Control (LoC), Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said on Friday, a day after three soldiers were martyred in shelling from across the LoC.
In a post shared on Twitter early today, Ghafoor said Sepoy Muhammad Sheraz was martyred due to Indian firing in the Battal sector along the LoC.
The Foreign Office summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to condemn the unprovoked ceasefire violations committed by the Indian forces today.
The incident comes a day after three Army soldiers — Naik Tanveer, Lance Naik Taimoor and Sepoy Ramzan — and two civilians were martyred in two sectors of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as Indian troops resorted to heavy shelling from across the restive LoC. A civilian was also injured.
The funeral prayers of the soldiers, who were martyred on Thursday, were offered in AJK capital Muzaffarabad today. A large number of military officials and civilians gathered to attend the funerals at the Neelum stadium, where the coffins of the soldiers, draped in the national flag, were brought.
Army personnel and civilians paid their last respects to the martyred soldiers, who were carried away to their native areas after the funeral.
“They appear to be sleeping,” a civilian remarked, while looking at their faces through the glass sheet.
'Efforts to divert attention'
In a tweet from his official account yesterday, the ISPR chief had said that the Pakistan armed forces, in a counter-attack, had killed five Indian soldiers and injured several others while bunkers were also damaged.
He shared that the Indian army had increased firing along the LoC as part of "efforts to divert attention from [the] precarious situation in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir".
The ISPR did not mention the area where the casualties had occurred but military sources told Dawn that the casualties took place in Leepa sector, some 100km southeast of the AJK capital.
In Battal sector of Poonch district, Indian troops had started the shelling at about 5am, using machineguns and mortars.
Ilyas Ahmed, a police officer deployed in the area, told Dawn that the shelling subsided at about midday but resumed with full intensity at about 2pm.
“It was ruthless [...] They pounded the entire area with mortar shells,” he said, adding that some of the villagers, who came out of their homes and other places assuming that the shelling would not resume, were caught off guard.
Thursday's firing offensive from Indian forces came on Aug 15, India's independence day. Pakistan had observed the day as Black Day in order to protest against the ongoing Indian atrocities, blatant human rights violations and imposition of curfew in occupied Kashmir. The protest by Pakistan followed New Delhi's decision to scrap Article 370 of the Indian constitution, stripping occupied Kashmir of its special autonomy.
While Ahluwalia was summoned to the Foreign Office over yesterday's ceasefire violations, the prime ministers of Pakistan and AJK condemned the incident.
Director General (SA & Saarc) Dr Mohammad Faisal, during his meeting with Ahluwalia yesterday, emphasised that the 2003 ceasefire agreement needed to be respected. “The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” he maintained.
The Indian occupation forces along the LoC and Working Boundary have been violating the 2003 ceasefire arrangement. There has been a sharp increase in the frequency of the violations over the past few years. Lately, Indian troops have resorted to caliber escalation and use of cluster bombs. The Indian Air Force violated airspace over Azad Kashmir during the post-Pulwama standoff.