One civilian was killed and four others were injured when Indian troops resorted to ‘unprovoked firing’ in the Charwa and Harpal sectors along the working boundary in Sialkot, military sources said on Sunday.
The dead civilian was identified as 45-year-old Iqbal, a resident of Thatti village. “Four civilians have also been injured in Harpal due to Indian firing,” a military official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity. According to Express News, three of the injured were women and one was a child.
The military official said the injured were taken to Sialkot’s Allama Iqbal Hospital for treatment.
Sources said that the Punjab Rangers retaliated to the ‘unprovoked firing’ by the personnel of India’s Border Security Force (BSF). The BSF started firing mortars across into Pakistani territory in the Charwa sector around 12:30am, they said. A Punjab Rangers spokesperson also confirmed the incident.
Pakistani and Indian forces have frequently exchanged fire along the working boundary as well as the Line of Control (LoC), which divides the disputed Kashmir state, despite the 2003 ceasefire agreement.
Last year Pakistani and Indian forces sporadically exchanged fire along the working boundary in the Sialkot region for almost two weeks. The skirmishes prompted villagers living close to the border to leave the area. At least two people, including a soldier, were killed and 14 others were wounded in the border clashes before the two countries agreed to restore the ceasefire.
The latest incident came at a time when Islamabad and New Delhi have been exploring options to resume their stalled peace talks.
Indian Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak to his Pakistani counterpart on border violations, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
“I want the prime minister to talk to Pakistan authorities and tell them that ceasefire violations are not right,” he told reporters in Jammu.
“Modi has good relations with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and they also communicate on Twitter. They should get this message across that ceasefire violations are not right,” he added.
Islamabad has rejected New Delhi’s allegations of violating the border, both along the working boundary and the LoC, and has accused Indian forces of ‘unprovoked aggression’.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2014.