Heavy shelling by Indian border guards on Chirara and Harpal sectors near Sialkot has left a Pakistani soldier and a civilian dead over the last 48 hours, a military official said.
Sajjad, a civilian, was killed and two others were injured on Friday following unprovoked firing of heavy weapons including mortar by Indian Border Security Forces in Harpal Sector near Sialkot
The latest provocation came a day after the paramilitary Chenab Rangers thwarted an infiltration attempt by a group of terrorists from the Indian territories of Chandwan Chak, Sadoon, Taili and Manihar. When the infiltration bid failed, Indian border guards resorted to unprovoked firing in Chirara Sector near Sialkot, Sajeet Garh Sector, Shakar Garh Sector and three check posts. One paramilitary soldier was killed in the attack.
Sharing details with the media, Pakistani military sources said that India’s Border Security Forces switched off security lights installed at the working boundary at Chirara Sector in an attempt “to send terrorists into Pakistan from Chandwan Chak, Sadoon, Taili and Manihar.”
Sources said the infiltration attempt was thwarted by the Chenab Rangers who drove the terrorists away. Their action, however, was followed by unprovoked firing by BSF soldiers Chirara Sector near Sialkot, Sajeet Garh Sector, Shakar Garh Sector and check posts in Chamana, Jagwal and Abyal Dogar. A military source claimed that the shelling was probably a bid to “to cover the BSF’s malicious move”.
“The Chenab Rangers thwarted the Indian attempt upon which Indian Border Security Forces opened fire,” the source added.
Officials said that subsequently the Chenab Rangers retaliated, silencing the Indian guns but during the exchange of fire, a Rangers sepoy Israr embraced martyrdom at Chirara Sector.
This year’s rise in cross-border skirmishes has elevated tensions between India and Pakistan. The violence has been focused on Kashmir where both the countries are guarding their sides of the Line of Control.
A military official said that the border flare-up has once again grabbed attention after the prime ministers of the two countries at a meeting in New York, pledged to restore peace along the LoC and working boundaries. “This is an attempt to sabotage the negotiations between the two states as the deadly flare-up along the LoC which started taking place in January has hindered peace talks that had just resumed after a long interval sparked by the 2008 attacks in Mumbai,” he said.
The escalation in LoC tensions was seen after five Indian soldiers were killed in a raid in August.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2013.