Pakistani Kashmiris ride a van heading towards the town of Titrinot, some 30 kilometers north of Battal sector close of Pakistan-India border. – Photo by AFP
Pakistani Kashmiris ride a van heading towards the town of Titrinot, some 30 kilometers north of Battal sector close of Pakistan-India border. – Photo by AFP

TITRINOT: Pakistani villagers in Kashmir living on the de facto border with India say they are trapped indoors, terrified by heavy exchanges of fire between Pakistani and Indian troops.

In the village of Darmassal, on the edge of the Line of Control and just metres away from Indian positions, boats which usually ferry people across the Poonch river have stayed moored since Wednesday because of heavy Indian firing, residents say.

“We are scared. We can’t come out because the area is under constant fire,” villager Shaukat Butt, 38, told AFP while hiding in a house.

“We used to cross the river by boat but yesterday Indian soldiers fired at our boat, so everybody is confined inside now and the boats have stopped,” he said.

Darmassal is part of the Battal region, where Pakistan accused Indian troops of opening fire and killing a Pakistani soldier on Thursday, the third cross-border incident since Sunday.

The Indian army post stands on the mountainside opposite the village and a Pakistani post lies beneath it, in front of the village and the river.

“I am very worried about my children. I want this firing to stop,” said Nazia Bibi, 35, who left her three children with her husband in the nearby main town of Titrinot and went to Hajira, another border town 12 kilometres away, to see her parents.

She says she is now too scared to return to Titrinot.

“I want to go back to my husband and children but can’t due to this firing. There is constant firing at the civilian population by the Indian side,” she said.

“We and our children are not safe in these conditions, we want peace,” she added.

A road between Titrinot and Hajira, which is the main route for trucks carrying supplies to and from India and Pakistan, has also been closed due to the firing.

“I started my restaurant at this hotel five years ago and did good business during the time of ceasefire. But from yesterday (Wednesday) onwards, I have had to save my own life and there is no business,” said Ishtiaq Ahmed, the owner of a roadside cafe.

“If this firing starts again, we all will become homeless,” he said.

A senior government official in the area, Mushtaq Ahmed, said that the firing had restricted the movement of around 40,000 people.

Opinion

Editorial

Covid funds controversy
Updated 01 Dec 2021

Covid funds controversy

A COMPREHENSIVE and detailed report by the auditor general of Pakistan on the utilisation of Covid-19 funds by the...
01 Dec 2021

Sindh LG law

THE Sindh Local Government Act, 2013, introduced by the PPP to roll back the Musharraf-era local bodies system in ...
Monster of circular debt
Updated 01 Dec 2021

Monster of circular debt

The crisis facing the energy sector cannot be tackled sustainably without taming the many elephants in the room.
New Covid danger
30 Nov 2021

New Covid danger

The government’s messaging around the coronavirus and the potential threat of Omicron must be reactivated.
Updated 30 Nov 2021

Saudi conditions

DECADES of fiscal profligacy have trapped the country in a situation where it not only has to borrow more money to...
30 Nov 2021

Mental health concerns

THE economic and psychological effects of Covid-19, combined with the issues of joblessness and inflation, have had ...