2 dead, 1 injured in ‘unprovoked, indiscriminate’ firing by Afghan sentry on pedestrians at Chaman border: ISPR
At least two people, including a 12-year-old child, were killed on Wednesday when an Afghan sentry opened “unprovoked and indiscriminate” firing on pedestrians at the Chaman border in Balochistan, the military’s media affairs wing said.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), a child was also injured during the firing.
“On October 4, at 1600 hours, an Afghan sentry employed at Friendship Gate of Chaman Border Crossing along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Balochistan opened unprovoked and indiscriminate firing at pedestrians moving from Pakistan to Afghanistan,” it said.
The ISPR said the incident occurred at the outbound gate located on the zero line.
“Own troops exercised extreme restraint and avoided any exchange of fire in the presence of innocent passengers to avoid collateral damage,” it stated.
The ISPR said the bodies have been shifted to the Chaman District Headquarters Hospital and the injured child, who was immediately evacuated by security forces, is under treatment.
“Afghan authorities have been approached to inquire the reason for such irresponsible and reckless act, apprehend and hand over the culprit to Pakistani authorities,” the statement said.
It added that the interim Afghan government was expected to “exercise control over its troops and impart discipline to act responsibly in order to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future”.
“Pakistan remains committed to contributing towards peace, prosperity and development through positive and constructive bilateral relations, however, such unpleasant occurrences have the potential to harm the sincere intent and purpose,” the ISPR statement concluded.
Last year, six people were killed and 17 others sustained injuries in firing by the Afghan Border Forces at the Chaman border. The incident was widely condemned by the then-government, Foreign Office and diplomats.
The cross-border attack had also led to the closure of the busy Chaman border crossing used for trade and transit.
Today’s incident comes a day after the caretaker government gave an ultimatum to all undocumented immigrants, including Afghan nationals, to leave Pakistan by October 31, or risk imprisonment and deportation to their respective countries.
The new policy announcement triggered concerns by several quarters, including the Afghan government which termed it “unacceptable”.
In a statement released immediately after the cross-border attack was reported, interim Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said an elderly man and a child were martyred in the firing. He added it was initiated by the Afghan side.
“Such incidents are not acceptable in any way, The Pakistani forces showed patience and tolerance on the unprovoked firing, and our soldiers avoided retaliatory firing due to the presence of civilians.
“It is hoped that the Afghan government will take this incident seriously and ensure strict action,” he stated, adding that such incidents had a negative impact on bilateral relations.