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    Sunday, 21 January 2018

    Pakistan lodges protest with India over civilian casualties in cross-border firing

    The Foreign Office (FO) on Sunday summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh to lodge a protest against casualties resulting from a ceasefire violation by Indian forces.
    A day earlier, six Pakistani citizens were killed and another 25 were injured in incidents of 'unprovoked firing' across the Working Boundary in Sialkot and the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir's Nakiyal sector by Indian troops.
    The FO condemned the ceasefire violations by the Indian troops.
    "The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and against human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws," a statement issued by the FO said.
    "The repeated ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation," the statement added.
    Yesterday's ceasefire violation came days after two women were killed and five people injured in cross-border firing along the Working Boundary in Sialkot's Chaprar sector.
    According to the Foreign Office, Indian forces have committed more than 70 ceasefire violations along the LoC and Working Boundary in 2018, in which at least nine civilians and four soldiers have lost their lives, and 10 people have been injured.
    Ceasefire violations are a frequent feature along the LoC and Working Boundary despite the leadership of Pakistan Rangers and India's Border Security Forces agreeing in November 2017 that the "spirit" of the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement must be revived to protect innocent lives.
    the latest violations occurred on January 20 and 21, when 18 Indian posts resorted to unprovoked firing with mortars and heavy weapons in the Nikial sector along the LoC, killing two innocent civilians, identified as 33-year-old Dil Muhammad from Bhai Dhara village and 25-year-old Nafeesa Bibi from Raetla village/Karela.
    A six-month-old child, Majid and two other women, Sahiba, 26, and Naseema, 38, were injured by the Indian firing and shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital, Kotli.
    “The deliberate targeting of civilian populated area is indeed deplorable and against the human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws,” read the statement. “The repeated ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and lead to a strategic miscalculation,” it added.
    Dr Faisal, the DG SA and SAARC, urged the Modi government to respect the 2003 ceasefire agreement and investigate the repeated incidents of ceasefire violations.
    At least four more citizens were martyred and 19 others injured seriously in unprovoked heavy mortar shelling by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on Phookaliyaan-Bajwat, Chaprar, Sucheetgarh, Harpal, Bajra Garhi, Charwah and Zafarwal-Shakargarh sectors of Sialkot Working Boundary here Saturday.
    There was no letup in three-day-long Indian shelling on Sialkot border villages along the Working Boundary.
    The Punjab Rangers retaliated in a befitting manner and silensed the Indian guns, said the senior officials of the Punjab Rangers.
    According to the local senior Rangers officials, several heavy mortar shells fired by the Indian BSF hit houses, killing four persons – Najaf Batool, 27, her minor son Ali Haider, Muhammad Bashir, 70, and Muhammad Shabir, 55. The Indian mortar shells also injured 19 people seriously.
    The Rescue-1122 of Sialkot shifted the injured to Combined Military Hospital, Sialkot Cantt, where the condition of six injured was stated to be critical.
    Sialkot Deputy Commissioner Dr Farrukh Naveed said the Indian Border Security Force continued unprovoked heavy mortar shelling on the border villages almost the whole night (the night between Friday and Saturday) and the throughout the day on Saturday.
    The DC said the Indian BSF continued targeting the civilian population in the border villages. The shelling also killed several buffaloes, cows, donkeys and goats, besides badly damaging dozens of houses.
    According to the Sialkot DC, people from most of the villages have already been shifted to safer places in the Sialkot city and its surroundings.
    The Indian shelling victims, Najaf Batool, her minor son Ali Haider, Muhammad Bashir and Muhammad Shabir, were laid to rest in their native graveyards.
    Local MNA Ch Armughan Subhani and Sialkot District Council Chairperson Hina Arshad Warraich visited the Sialkot CMH to inquire after the injured. They strongly condemned the Indian brutality.
    In Sialkot, two Pakistani women were killed and seven injured by Indian BSF shelling on Sialkot border villages Thursday (Jan18) while three civilians were killed and 22 injured on Friday (Jan 19).
    At least nine persons, including three women, were killed and46 injured in Indian shelling on Sialkot border villages during the last three days.
    AFP adds: Indian Army spokesman Colonel NN Joshi claimed one of their soldiers was killed Saturday by Pakistani fire in Poonch sector along the Line of Control.
    Two civilians , including a 15-year-old boy, were killed in a separate cross-border assault along a stretch of uncontested frontier between Kashmir and Pakistani Punjab, director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid told AFP.

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