ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan on Monday summoned India’s deputy high commissioner to lodge a protest over what it calls ‘unprovoked firing’ across the working boundary in Sialkot, which left one civilian dead and four injured.
According to sources in the Chenab Rangers, two civilians, including a woman, Hanifa Bibi, a resident of Khokhar village, were killed in the firing across the working boundary at 5:50am on Monday. Pakistani officials say India’s Border Security Forces (BSF) fired in Charwa sector near Sialkot.
“It was emphasised that such unfortunate incidents were taking place at a time when the leadership on both sides had expressed willingness to improve bilateral relations, which had paved the way for the foreign secretary-level talks to resume dialogue,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. It added that this is the 54th ceasefire violation by Indian troops since July this year.
A Rangers official added that houses and a mosque were damaged in the firing, and several animals were killed as well. Extracts from a Rangers report stated that firing continued for several hours until 12 Wing Pasrur Chenab Rangers responded. The injured civilians include one man and three women, residents of Harpal village. They have been admitted to Allama Iqbal Hospital.
The latest violation came just days after Pakistani authorities released an Indian solider, who allegedly tried to cross the border from Bajwat Sector in Sialkot region last Wednesday. Despite a 2003 ceasefire agreement, Pakistani and Indian forces have frequently exchanged fire and held each other responsible for the breach.
The intermittent skirmishes on the Line of Control (LoC) and working boundary had stalled the peace process between the two countries. However, both countries are set to resume talks later this month.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th,2014.
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