Pakistani, Indian troops exchange fire across LoC on Independence Day

LOCISLAMABAD: Pakistani troops and Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) exchanged fire across the Line of Control (LoC) on Independence Day, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said Sunday.

ISPR said Indian troops resorted to “unprovoked firing” in the Nezapir sector near Rawalakot between 2am to 8:30am on Aug 14.

No casualties have been reported so far on either side of the working boundary.

“India used all types of heavy weapons including mortar and artillery,” the statement said. “Some of the rounds landed at civilian houses near the LoC.”

Pakistani troops issued a ‘befitting response’ to the BSF’s ‘unprovoked firing’, the ISPR said.

Indian Defence Spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta, however, claimed that the Pakistan Army resorted to an unprovoked ceasefire violation along the LoC in the Poonch sector, Times of India reported. “Our troops are responding appropriately,” Col. Mehta said.

This is the first ceasefire violation in four months, ToI reported. Despite a 2003 border ceasefire agreement signed by both countries, cross-border firing along the working boundary is intermittent with both parties frequently accusing the other of breaching it.

DGMO lodges protest

The director general military operations (DGMO) of the Pakistan Army contacted his Indian counterpart and has lodged a protest against the unprovoked firing by Indian troops at Nezapir sector of the LoC, said an ISPR statement.

The statement added contact was made via the hotline established between the two DGMOs.

Reports of cross-border firing come as tensions between India and Pakistan are heightened following unrest in India-held Kashmir (IHK) despite Pakistan’s recent proposal of a dedicated dialogue on Kashmir with India, as well as a bilateral moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons.

The killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani sparked anti-government protests in the restive Himalayan region, with over 70 people dead in clashes between protesters and Indian authorities.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh traded barbs at the South Asian Association for Regional Coop­eration (Saarc) Interior Minis­ters’ meeting in Islamabad earlier in August.

Nisar issued a rejoinder to Rajnath when the Indian minister indirectly accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism, terming the use of “torture against innocent children and violence against civilians” as terrorism.

The interior minister stressed the need to “take time out to reflect and sit together to try and work out the problems and reservations that we might harbour towards each other” instead of engaging in blame games and taking swipes at each other. -DN

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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