MUZAFFARABAD: A teenage girl, who had sustained injuries in “unprovoked and indiscriminate” Indian shelling from across the restive Line of Control on Tuesday, succumbed to her wounds in a health facility on Wednesday, officials said.

“This morning, 16-year-old Anila, daughter of Fazal Karim, passed away in a military-run hospital in Rawalpindi where she had been taken on Tuesday owing to her critical condition,” said Chaudhry Zulqarnain Sarfraz, senior superintendent of police (SSP), in Poonch.

Indian troops had resorted to shelling at civilian population in Battal sector, which lies in Hajira tehsil of Poonch district in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), at about 6am on Tuesday.

SSP Zulqarnain said Anila, her mother Shamim Begum, 50, her elder siblings Naeem, 22, Saira, 18, and six others, identified as Robina, 37, wife of Tariq Butt; Nasreen, 55, wife of Maroof; Altamash, 8, son of Zulqarnain; Zulfiqar Mughal, 35, son of Muhammad Sharif; Hadiqa, 13, daughter of Mohammad Sher; and Sana, 14, daughter of Mohammad Shahpal, were injured in the shelling that continued for about three hours.

“One of the victims got hit in Tai village and the rest in Sehra village. Almost all were indoors but were injured because the shelling was intense and indiscriminate,” he said.

The fatality pushed the number of civilians killed in different areas of AJK in the current year in Indian shelling to 15, while the number of injured persons is between 137 and 144.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, the media affairs wing of Pakistan Army, also confirmed the casualties and said troops had effectively responded to it and targeted those posts which initiated fire.

It said Indian troops had committed 1,877 ceasefire violations so far this year.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider had condemned “unprovoked and indiscriminate” Indian shelling.

“The escalation along the ceasefire line is aimed at diverting attention from worldwide protests [on Wednesday] against India’s constitutional terrorism with regard to IOJK,” he had said.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2020