NEW DELHI -- In a sign that tensions between India and Pakistan are escalating, India on Sunday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner, Abdul Basit, to protest over the recent ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the LoC. As of Sunday six people, including a woman, have been killed.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi today by Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East). In a press statement from the MEA, the ministry said it has lodged a protest and conveyed India's anger at the unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops since August 8, particularly with regard to the incidents of yesterday and today in Poonch that saw the "systematic targeting of our civilian populations and the use of high caliber weapons including artillery", according to the MEA.
"The issue of continued unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops since August 8 had been raised on several occasions at the DGMO level," the Indian government said in its press statement. "Assurances were also received from the Pakistan military authorities that the firings would stop and their troops would be instructed accordingly. But in fact the firings have continued up until today."
India has conveyed that the Pakistan Government needs to take necessary steps to ensure that the Pakistan military does not undermine peace and tranquility along the IB and Line of Control.
On Independence Day, five civilians, including a sarpanch were killed and five others injured in heavy firing and mortar bomb shelling.
Basit was summoned even as the two countries get ready for the first-ever NSA-level talks here on terrorism related issues next week. National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan — Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz — will hold talks on terrorism-related issues for the first time on August 23. During the talks, India is expected to present strong evidence of terrorism emanating from Pakistan highlighted further by recent attacks in Gurdaspur in Punjab and near Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier on Sunday, Pakistan's Punjab Province Home Minister, Shuja Khanzada, was assassinated in a suicide attack, only adding to the rise in violence that has characterized most of last week.
Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Pakistan should be told categorically to stop inflicting miseries on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We can’t allow our hapless civilians, living along the borders, to become the ill-fated victims of the military machinations from across,” Sayeed said.
There have been 32 violations of the 2003 ceasefire in August as Pakistani troops shelled Indian posts along the LoC.
Reports suggested that many people are likely to be shifted from the forward areas along the LoC.
Villagers living in Balakote area of Jammu and Kashmir were forced to evacuate as Pakistani rangers continued firing at Indian posts on Sunday (August 16) along the Line of Control (LOC) in Poonch, killing five and injuring several others. Pakistan has been attacking forward Indian positions with mortar shells, violating ceasefire agreement between the two countries.
Indian soldiers retaliated in equal measures. The firing between the both sides is still underway. Many have left their homes and moving towards a safer ground while others staying back were scared and not coming out of their homes until the firing stops. A villager, Mustak Ahmad, said that it was a nightmare till the time they were in their village. Families of the people died were not able to perform their last rites as they could not move out of their homes. Some bodies were not even brought back as the villagers fear of being caught in between the battle. Another villager, Ayas Ahmad Khan, said five were killed and many were injured.
(with PTI inputs)
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