Four members of a family, including two girls, were injured as Pakistani troops in yet another incident of ceasefire violation continued firing mortar shells on the civilian population living along the Line of Control in border areas of Poonch district for the third day on Saturday. “Pakistan army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics and mortars from 7.45 pm in Bhimber Gali sector along the LoC deliberately targetting villages of Basauni and Sandot in Balakote area”, said an army spokesperson here. “This unprovoked firing and condemnable action by Pakistani army has caused serious injuries to four civilians including small children”, he added.
The injured have been identified as Tahira Naseeb, 17, her brothers Tariq Naseeb, 15, and Saquib, 5, besides sister Rafia Naseeb, 7, all children of a police head constable Mohammad Naseeb. They were shifted to Primary Health Centre at Dhargloon.
The Indian Army is retaliating strongly and effectively, the spokesperson said, adding the exchange of fire is still on. With this, the number of people injured in unprovoked mortar shelling by Pakistan during the last three days has gone to 10 including six army personnel. An army jawan and a defence porter were also killed in mortar shelling from across the border in Krishna Ghati sector on Thursday.
On Friday, all the schools in Digwar and Khari Karmara areas of Poonch district were closed in view of intense mortar shelling by Pakistani troops on civilian areas along the Line of Control there. The shelling had been so intense that the explosions caused by it were audible even in Poonch town.
Significantly, the fresh spate of ceasefire violations by Pakistan have come two days after it handed over a 35-year-old woman Azmat Jan to Indian troops who had crossed over to Pakistan occupied Kashmir four years ago following a tiff with her husband. The Pakistan had described it as a gesture of goodwill and efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along the borders.
Sources attributed the escalation on borders to growing desperation on Pakistan side over its failure to push in armed terrorists into the state before the onset of winter when mountainous passes get closed due to snowfall. Alert BSF troops in Arnia sector had last month detected an incomplete cross-border tunnel emanating from Pakistan side of the international border.
During the past two months, there have been nearly 50 infiltration attempts from across the border and 44 of them were successfully foiled by alert troops, sources said. A few terrorists who somehow managed to enter the state have been eliminated, they added.
The shelling has also caused damage to residential houses at many places, making a sizeable number of people shift to safer places, while cross LoC trade and travel between two sides through Chakkan Da Bagh on Poonch-Rawalakote road remains suspended.
In retaliatory fire by Indian troops and BSF, Pakistan too has reportedly suffered heavy losses.