ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR: Five Pakis­tan Army troops and a woman were martyred while at least eight people, including seven civilians, suffered injuries in separate incidents of unprovoked firing near the Afg­han border and in Azad Jammu and Kash­mir from across the Line of Control (LoC).

Summoning Indian Charge de Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia on Saturday, Foreign Off­ice Director General (South Asia and Saarc Desk) Dr Mohammad Faisal condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the LoC and said they were a threat to regional peace and security and could lead to a strategic miscalculation.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the first incident occurred in North Waziristan tribal district, where miscreants opened fire on a routine patrolling party of security forces near the Abba Khel area of Spinwam tehsil late on Friday night, claiming the life of Sepoy Akhtar Hussain, 23, a resident of Baltistan district. “In exchange of fire, two miscreants [were] killed,” the ISPR said.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the ambush.

Soldier, woman embrace martyrdom as Indian troops open fire from across LoC

In a separate incident in Dir, suspected terrorists opened fire from across Pak-Afghan border on Pakistan Army troops who were busy in border fencing. “Three soldiers embraced shahadat while one got injured” in the incident, the ISPR said.

Officials said that the attack was carried out in the Bin Dara area of Dir where the soldiers were fixing fence along the Afghan border. The personnel who embraced martyrdom were identified as Lance Naik Said Amin Afridi, 28, a resident of Khyber; Lance Naik Mohammad Shoaib Swati, 31, a resident of Manshera; and Sepoy Kashif Ali, 22, a resident of Nowshera.

Pakistan has already fenced over 900-km-portion of the Afghan border in an attempt to prevent movement of miscreants and terrorists between the two countries.

In a separate incident, an army soldier, Havaldar Nasir Hussain, 33, resident of Narowal, was martyred after the Indian forces resorted to unprovoked firing in the Hajipir sector of AJK, according to the ISPR.

A second ISPR statement issued later in the day said Indian troops also resorted to unprovoked firing in Nakyal and Jandrot sectors, targeting the civilian population.

As a result of the firing, a woman identified as 40-year-old Fatima Bibi, a resident of Balakot, died, while six others including four women sustained injuries. The injured were evacuated to a nearby medical facility for medical treatment, the press release added.

Earlier on Thursday, Sepoy Ghulam Rasool had been martyred in unprovoked firing by Indian troops in Hajipir sector of AJK.

Meanwhile, the FO statement explained: “The Indian occupation forces along the LoC and working boundary have continuously been targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars, and automatic weapons, which still continues. This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India has been going on since the year 2017 when the Indian forces committed the 1970 ceasefire violations.”

The FO said the deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas was indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws. The ceasefire violations by India were not only a threat to regional peace and security but could also lead to a strategic miscalculation, it added.

To condemn the unprovoked ceasefire violations by Indian forces, Foreign Office (South Asia and Saarc) DG Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned Indian Charge de Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia and asked the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement.

In the ceasefire violations on Sept 14, the Indian forces targeted innocent civilians in Nikial and Jandrot sectors of the LoC. An innocent woman, Fatima Bibi, who was a resident of Balakot village, embraced martyrdom while seven others, including women, sustained serious injuries.

The DG (South Asia & Saarc) asked the Indian side to respect the ceasefire arrangement; investigate these and other incidents of ceasefire violations; instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire in letter and spirit; and maintain peace on the LoC and the working boundary.

He asked the Indian side to allow the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

Last week, too, the FO had summoned the Indian Charge d’ Affaires to lodge Pakistan’s protest against unprovoked ceasefire violation by the Indian army in Khuirata sector of the LoC.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2019