Four civilians, including a woman and a boy, were injured in unprovoked indiscriminate firing by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir this evening, officials said. Pakistani troops violated ceasefire in the Shahpur sector around 6 pm by firing from light to heavy weapons for nearly 45 minutes, they said. “We have received information that about four persons were injured in Pakistani firing and they are being evacuated to a hospital,” District Development Commissioner, Poonch, Tariq Ahmad Zargar told PTI.
According to a police official, Jameel Ahmad (45) and Parvaiza Akhtar (20) of Bandichichi and Javaid Hussain (24)and 14-year-old Mohammad Qasim of Kaswa village were injured in the firing. The injured were given first aid locally and then sent to a district hospital, the official said. He said the troops guarding the LoC retaliated to silence the Pakistani guns and the exchange of fire caused panic among the border residents.
This is the first ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Poonch sector after senior commanders of Army from both sides held a flag meeting at the LoC on August 24 in an attempt to de-escalate tension.
However, there has been firing from across the international border in the Jammu area in recent days. The latest violation comes barely a day after the BSF said that it had killed at least three Pakistani rangers after the other side indulged in unprovoked firing along the Indo-Pak border in the Pargwal area of Jammu. “The situation along the international border in Jammu was peaceful today and there was no report of any violation reported from anywhere,” a BSF officer said.
A day earlier, a BSF constable K K Appa Rao was hit by a sniper round in the nearby RS Pora sector when the Pakistani side took a direct aim at him while he was drinking water. The two border guarding forces, on July 17, had held a commandant-level flag meeting in the Samba sector and “committed” themselves to maintaining peace.
In the flag meeting, the two sides had agreed to re-energise instant communication between field commanders to resolve petty matters. Incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistan have risen sharply this year. Till August 1, there were 285 such violations by the Pakistan Army, while in 2016, the number was significantly lower at 228 for the entire year, according to Army figures.