ISLLAMABAD—India and Pakistan blamed each other Friday for exchanges of fire over their disputed border that killed nine civilians and wounded dozens more.
"Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing. Initially small arms were used but later on mortars bombs were shelled on BSF posts and civilian areas in R S Pura and Arnia sectors since midnight", a BSF spokesman told PTI.
In a statement, the Pakistan military said eight people were killed and 46 were wounded on the Pakistani side.
Three people were killed and eight were wounded on the Indian side, said Pawan Kotwal, a military official.
The latest ceasefire violation comes two days ahead of a meeting between the two sides to firm up logistics and the agenda for the September 6 talks between the director generals of the Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers in New Delhi.
Pakistan Friday summoned Indian High Commissioner T C A Raghavan and lodged a strong protest over alleged ceasefire violations, saying that at least eight civilians had been killed in firing by Indian troops.
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry summoned Raghavan to convey that the alleged ceasefire violations by the Indian side were not acceptable, sources said. “While condemning the Indian practice of targeting civilians on purpose, Pakistan expressed its deep concern at the continued hostility at the LoC and the Working Boundary,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Army chief General Raheel Sharif claimed that there was a link between “Indian-sponsored terrorism” and ceasefire violations along the LoC. Sharif’s comments came as he visited the Pakistan Rangers headquarters.
He alleged that India had blatantly violated ceasefire along the LoC and the International Border and “crossed all limits to terrorise Pakistan’s civilian population, disregarding international conventions and norms”, military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa tweeted.
“We can sense definite linkage between terrorism being sponsored by India in various parts of Pakistan and belligerence along the LoC,” Bajwa quoted Sharif as saying. “Indian firing and violation targeting civilians is a highly unprofessional, unethical, irresponsible and cowardly act,” he said.
Bajwa claimed that eight Pakistanis, including a woman and a child, were killed due to Indian firing, while 47 were injured, including 24 women and 11 children.
In July this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif had met in Ufa, Russia, where they reiterated their resolve to fight terror. However, sources said that Pakistani troops have continued to escalate ceasefire violations, and the number of such violations since July stands at 70-90, with seven deaths since then.
(With inputs from PTI)