Tension rebuilds: Indian troops kill Pakistani soldier who crossed LoC

Pakistan Army says he was killed despite identifying himself, calls for thorough investigation.


Kamran Yousaf February 16, 2013
A photo showing Indian border security officer. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:


Pakistan strongly condemned on Friday what it called the ‘inhuman and brutal killing’ of its soldier by the Indian army in the Khoi Ratta sector of the de facto border that divides Kashmir.


The murder of 22-year-old Sepoy Akhlaq, who had reportedly lost his way and ‘inadvertently’ crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday evening comes just as it seemed things were cooling down between the neighbours. Pakistan warned that the incident could further ‘vitiate the atmosphere,’ in a statement issued on Friday.

A few civilians who witnessed the incident saw Akhlaq being questioned by Indian troops. The Pakistani military maintains that the soldier was killed despite the fact he had identified himself and explained his position.

Meanwhile, India claims that the soldier crossed into its territory to attack a post. “We detected some suspicious movement on Thursday near the LoC inside our territory and the challengers from our side fired. He was killed in the ensuing firefight,” Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia, a spokesman for the Indian Army’s northern command, told AFP.

“This is not the first time this has happened. We have returned Indian soldiers in the past that had similarly strayed,” Pakistan’s statement added.

One Pakistani military official referred to an incident which occurred in October 2011, when an Indian Army helicopter strayed into Pakistani territory.  Pakistan allowed the chopper to return safely with four Indian army officials aboard, the official said.



Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the killing was against the understanding reached between the two neighbours on the speedy return of “inadvertent line crossers.”

“Pakistan calls upon the government of India to carry out a thorough investigation into this unfortunate incident and to ensure that such incidents do not recur,” the statement read.

Indian authorities were approached to hand over the soldier’s remains.

“On Friday he (the Pakistani DGMO) made the unscheduled call to our DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia confirming that the intruder was a Pakistani soldier. At his request, the body would be returned to the Pakistani side with full military respects due to a soldier,” the Army spokesman said.

(with additional input from Aditi Phadnis in New Delhi and AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2013.

COMMENTS (3)

Khan Ahmed | 8 years ago | Reply

Our Pak army did not know that out soldier crossed the LOC, but knew he was killed by Indian soldiers. The border army moves in groups not in singles.

p r sharma | 8 years ago | Reply

"A few civilians who witnessed the incident saw Akhlaq being questioned by Indian troops. The Pakistani military maintains that the soldier was killed despite the fact he had identified himself and explained his position."

The place where the incident occurred is quite near the LOC( fenced) in the evening,, By 5 p.m. there is no sunlight and the darkness creeps in.. Was there a market or bazar or village where the incident occurred, otherwise the presence of so called civilians as claimed by the Pakistani side turns to be doubtful and raises many questions ( prima facie does not substantiate the claim of witness) or does the civilians roam / go for walks near the LOC frequently in the evening... Circumstances do not endorse the claims of Pak army ( killing after questioning the Pak soldier).

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