–Pakistan Army ‘destroys two Indian army bunkers, kills nine troops’ in response
–FO rejects Indian media reports of ‘militant launchpads’ along the LoC, invites international observers to see for themselves
RAWALPINDI: At least six people, including a Pakistan Army soldier, lost their lives on Sunday after Indian troops resorted to “indiscriminate and ruthless” shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in the latest spate of ceasefire violations.
The shelling also left nine civilians injured. This is the highest death toll in 2019 in a single day of Indian shelling from across the LoC.
“In response to unprovoked ceasefire violations by India in Jura, Shahkot and Nauseri sectors, nine Indian soldiers were killed while several others were injured and two Indian bunkers were destroyed,” the military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Twitter.
ISPR Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor confirmed that one soldier had been martyred in the exchange of fire while two others were injured.
A subsequent tweet by General Ghafoor said, “Indian Army shall always get befitting response to CFVs. Pakistan Army shall protect innocent civilians along LOC [and] inflict unbearable cost to Indian Army. Indian lies to justify their false claims [and] preparations for a false flag operation will continue to be exposed with truth.”
“Indian Army struggling to pick dead bodies and evacuate injured soldiers. Indian Army raising white flag. This they should think before initiating unprovoked CFVs and respect military norms by avoiding to target innocent civilians,” the ISPR chief added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly condemned the unprovoked firing by Indian security forces on civilian population along the Line of Control in a statement issued by the PM Office.
He prayed for the departed souls and early recovery of the injured. The premier saluted the Pakistan Army for their bravery, valiance, and giving a befitting response to Indian security forces.
Earlier, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said Indian forces in occupied Kashmir had “gone berserk”. In a post shared on Twitter, he added, “This is the height of savagery. The world must not stay silent over it.”
An Indian army source told Reuters that the shelling was cover to allegedly help militants enter India because of which a “calibrated escalation of area weapons was undertaken”.
The Indian army “retains the right to respond at a time and place of its choosing” if the Pakistani army continues to do this, he said.
PAKISTAN REJECTS ‘MILITANT LAUNCHPADS’ ALONG LOC:
The claims were rubbished by Pakistan, which said India carried out an unprovoked attack deliberately targeted at civilians.
Also, the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson categorically rejected Indian media reports about “launchpads” which India claims it targets along the LoC.
In this regard, Pakistan has called upon the P5 countries “to ask India to provide information about the alleged launchpads and stated its willingness to arrange a visit of the P5 diplomats to those locations to expose Indian falsehood”.
The FO said that the “heinous” targeting of civilians is “a typical attempt by India to divert international attention from the humanitarian nightmare in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir”.
According to the statement, Dr Faisal urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement, investigate these and other incidents of ceasefire violations, instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire in letter and spirit, and maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary.
He also stressed that the UNMOGIP must be permitted to play its mandated role as per the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
Kashmir has been disputed by the two nuclear-armed neighbors since they both received independence in 1947. The two countries fought two of their three wars over the region.
Tensions between the two countries have flared and there has been intermittent cross-border firing since August 5, when New Delhi flooded Indian Kashmir with troops to quell unrest after it revoked the region’s special autonomous status.
Islamabad has warned that changing Kashmir’s status would escalate tensions but India says the withdrawal of special status is an internal affair and is aimed at faster economic development of the territory.