Three Pakistan Army soldiers were killed on Wednesday during an exchange of fire with Indian security forces across Line of Control, ISPR said.
However, the military’s media wing also claimed to have killed at least seven Indian soldiers during the border skirmishes. The soldiers killed during the cross-border fire were identified as Captain Taimoor ali, Havildar Mushtaq Hussain and Lance Naik Ghulam Hussain.
The incident came after at least eight civilians were killed and nine others injured as Indian army targeted a passenger bus along the LoC near Neelum valley in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
According to police, a coaster bearing number MDAJK-3866 was heading towards Muzaffarabad from Kel when it was attacked by mortar shells fired by Indian troops near Lawat Kanari Bala, some 100 kilometres away from Muzaffarabad. Pakistan Army retaliated and attacked Indian forces’ posts silencing their guns.
ISPR earlier said Indian forces resorted to firing and shelling in Shahkot, Jura, Battal Karela, Bagh, Bagsar and hot spring sectors targeting civilian population. Pakistani troops targeting Indian posts. Intense exchange of firing continues, it added.
In a similar incident, a motorcyclist died after being hit by an Indian mortal shell in Karen area of Neelum valley.
On Monday, four civilians were killed and 10 others were injured in different sectors along the de facto border while six Indian soldiers were also confirmed dead in retaliatory fire. Later on the same day, Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh was summoned to the Foreign Office in protest of the violation.
The two countries have been at loggerheads since the killing of a populist rebel leader Burhan Wani by the occupied forces in the valley on July 8.
India also accuses Pakistan of being involved in an attack on an army base in Uri on September 18, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed. Islamabad has denied the charge, which Delhi leveled without any substantial investigation or evidence.
Frequent incidents of cross-border fire have been witnessed since a heightened situation in occupied Kashmir. More than 100 protesters have lost their lives to the security forces in the valley while dozens blinded by use of pellet guns.
‘We reserve the right to respond at the place and time of our choosing’
Meanwhile, according to the ISPR, hotline contact was established between DGMOs of both the militaries.
“Discussing a single point agenda, Pakistan Army DGMO demarched his Indian counterpart for targeting a civilian bus by Indian troops,” said the statement. “We reserve the right to respond at the place and time of our choosing.”
Foreign Office summons Indian envoy, hands over protest letter
Following the fresh ceasefire violations, the Foreign Office summoned Indian deputy high commissioner and lodged a strong protest over killing of civilians and security personnel along the LoC.
According to the Foreign Office spokesperson, a letter of protest was also handed over to the Indian official. India should desist from targeting unarmed citizens on the de facto border, the spokesperson said.
Army chief holds special meeting at LoC
Meanwhile, the army chief held a special meeting at the GHQ to review the situation across LoC.
“Deliberate targeting of innocent civilians is unprofessional and unacceptable,” he observed in the meeting, according to the ISPR. “[The] COAS appreciated morale of troops and the most befitting response given by them.”
The army chief directed that any future violations must also get instant and effective response.