Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday said that Indian troops will always receive a "befitting response" to ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), calling their actions a "threat to regional peace and stability".
According to a statement by the military's media wing, the COAS made the remarks while visiting forward troops along the LoC.
“Blatant atrocities by Indian occupation forces on innocent Kashmiris and unethical targeting of civil population in AJ&K is unacceptable. Indian provocations are a threat to regional peace and stability. Indian Army shall always get befitting response to CFVs: COAS," the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement read.
Bajwa also appreciated the strict adherence to coronavirus protocols and the "proactive assistance" to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in fighting Covid-19.
"[The] army will continue to support the national effort against the pandemic," he said.
During his visit, he was briefed about the latest situation, the repeated ceasefire violations by Indian troops and the Pakistan Army's response.
"The COAS launded the officers and men for their continued vigilance and professionalism," the statement added.
2 civilians killed in fresh Indian firing
Hours after Gen Bajwa's visit to the LoC, two civilians were killed and as many wounded in AJK in yet another ceasefire violation by Indian troops from across the dividing line, officials said.
The casualties occurred in Rakhchikri sector of Haveli district.
“The shelling [by Indian troops] started at about 5:30pm and was heavy, during which they used mortars and artillery,” Shaukat Mirza, a senior police official in Haveli, told Dawn.
“It is continuing at the moment, though intermittently,” he added.
The shelling left 50-year-old Rashida Bibi dead and her son Faizan, 11, wounded in a house in Kairni village.
In the same village, Zobia, 16, also died while 55-year-old Roshan Bibi was injured, according to Mirza.
Both the injured were hospitalised in a military-run health facility at Forward Kahuta, the district headquarters.
According to Syed Shahid Mohyiddin Qadri, secretary civil defence and disaster management in the AJK government, four civilians have lost their lives to Indian shelling while 24 have sustained injuries in April alone.
The overall civilian casualties since the start of the year are six deaths and injuries to 61 others, he said. The firing also caused losses of moveable and immovable private and public properties.
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider took to Twitter to condemn the shelling and remind the international community of the repercussions of its “silence” at Indian actions.
“The loss of two more innocent lives in AJK in unrelenting & extremely condemnable ceasefire violations by Indian Army is heartrending. I once again warn the international community that turning a blind eye to India's blatant acts of belligerence will set off utter devastation in South Asia,” he wrote.
In an earlier tweet, Haider had said: “Extremist policies of BJP and RSS maniacs-led India are bound to spell disaster for global peace & security, something the world community must realise without more ado. Any further silence and non-intervention will amount to fraternising with the exponents of dogmatism and fanaticism.”
On Monday, a woman had lost her life and a young girl was injured in AJK after Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing from across the LoC, civilian and military officials had said.
On April 24, the Pakistan Army had said that Indian troops were using the people of occupied Kashmir as human shields while committing ceasefire violations along the LoC.
ISPR Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar had said Indian troops had positioned their guns, used in ceasefire violations, within populated areas of occupied Kashmir to save themselves from Pakistan Army’s retaliatory fire.
“The Indian Army is using the people of occupied Kashmir as human shields,” he had said in a televised statement after a meeting of the Principal Staff Officers at the General Headquarters.