Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Wednesday condemned a recent ceasefire violation by Indian troops which resulted in the deaths of two civilians in different villages in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), saying that the increased frequency of attacks from across the Line of Control (LoC) “indicates their [the Indian government’s] frustration due to failure in IOJ&K [Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir]”.
In a tweet posted on ISPR’s official Twitter account, director general of the army’s media wing Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said ceasefire violations by the Indian forces “are being and shall always be effectively responded”.
“Pak Army shall take all measures to protect innocent civilians along LoC from Indian firing deliberately targeting them,” he said.
His statement came after officials evacuated more than 50 Chinese nationals working near the LoC due to the intense firing.
The Chinese were working on a dam being constructed in AJK along the confluence of the Neelam and Jhelum rivers when firing pushed authorities to move the workers late Tuesday, according to Akhtar Ayub from the local disaster management authority.
Another local official, Raja Shahid Mahmood, said the decision was made after Indian security forces fired a volley of “indiscriminate fire that killed three people including a woman and a child and wounded 31 others during the last 24 hours”.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal today summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia and condemned the “unprovoked” ceasefire violations, a press statement released today said.
The spokesperson urged the Indian side to respect the ceasefire agreement and termed the targeting of the civilian population as “deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws”.
“The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws. The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” the press release read.
The Indian government must 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, the statement further said.
Tuesday’s attacks — that were described by officials as “carpet bombing” of several civilian-populated areas in AJK — were the second time the Indian forces had violated the ceasefire agreement of 2003 in two days. Two civilians were killed and at least 19 were injured from Indian shelling in Danna, Dhudhniyal, Jura, Lipa, Sharda and Shahkot.
The armed forces had responded “befittingly”, a statement by the media wing had said, adding that there were “reports of three Indian soldiers dead, many injured, besides damage to Indian posts”.
On Monday, one woman was killed while at least seven were injured from “unprovoked” attacks by the Indian troops in different civilian populated villages near the LoC.
Yesterday’s indiscriminate shelling has pushed the civilian death toll in the current year to 25 while another 133 have sustained injuries.
Casualties from ceasefire violations in 2019
Saeed Qureshi, a senior director at State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), had said after Monday’s incident that the civilian death toll in the current year has increased to 22, including 13 men and nine women.
Of them, he said, nine have been killed in the Kotli district, six in Haveli district, three in Bhimber district, two in Jhelum Valley district and one each in Neelum Valley and Poonch districts.
About 11 army personnel have also been martyred along the LoC in the ongoing year, Qureshi added.
Around 114 people, including 65 men and 49 women, have been injured, he said. About 36 of the victims hailed from Kotli district, 27 from Poonch district, 24 from Haveli district, 19 from Bhimber district, seven from Jhelum Valley district and one from Neelum Valley district.
Qureshi said that around 18 houses and four shops have been destroyed and 220 houses, one mosque, two schools and five vehicles have been partially damaged.
Villagers have also lost at least 26 cattle heads due to shelling by the Indian forces in the ongoing year, he added.