In­dia sum­mons Pak­istan en­voy over Kash­mir deaths

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­dia sum­moned Pak­istan’s en­voy in New Delhi Sun­day to protest against the week­end killing of at least half a dozen civil­ians in bor­der fir­ings, hik­ing ten­sions ahead of talks be­tween the nu­clear-armed ri­vals.

Six civil­ians died on the week­end in trou­bled In­dian Kash­mir af­ter fir­ing and shelling by Pak­istani troops from across the bor­der, ac­cord­ing to In­dian po­lice.

Another two civil­ians were killed in shelling by In­dian sol­diers into the Pak­istani side of the dis­puted Hi­malayan re­gion, ac­cord­ing to a Pak­istani of­fi­cial on Satur­day.

“We are con­cerned about the ceasefire vi­o­la­tions in the months of July and Au­gust,” Pak­istan High Com­mis­sioner Ab­dul Ba­sit told re­porters out­side the for­eign min­istry of­fice in Delhi where he had been hauled in.

“There have been close to 70 ceasefire vi­o­la­tions from this side of the LoC (Line of Con­trol) and work­ing bound­ary,” he said.

In­dia and Pak­istan of­ten ac­cuse each other of vi­o­lat­ing a 2003 ceasefire agree­ment along their de facto bor­der known as the Line of Con­trol that di­vides Kash­mir.

Fir­ing and shelling be­tween troops has oc­curred on an al­most daily ba­sis for the past week along the bor­der, af­ter an uptick in such in­ci­dents in re­cent months.

Top se­cu­rity of­fi­cials of the two coun­tries are sched­uled to meet in the In­dian cap­i­tal from Aug. 23 in what Pak­istan last week de­scribed as “ice break­ing” talks.

Af­ter months of stale­mate and re­crim­i­na­tions, In­dia Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and his Pak­istani coun­ter­part Nawaz Sharif spoke for nearly an hour while vis­it­ing Rus­sia in July.

Kash­mir has been di­vided be­tween the two coun­tries since the end of UK rule but is claimed in full by both. The neigh­bors have fought two wars over con­trol of the Mus­lim­ma­jor­ity ter­ri­tory.

Fir­ing re­sumed along their fron­tier on Sun­day in In­dia’s Poonch sec­tor, 320 kilo­me­ters (200 miles) south of the re­gion’s main city of Sri­na­gar, said In­dian de­fense min­istry spokesman Man­ish Me­hta.

Three civil­ians in­clud­ing a woman had died overnight on Satur­day in hos­pi­tals from in­juries sus­tained in fir­ing, said Danesh Rana, in­spec­torgen­eral of po­lice for the re­gion.

Three oth­ers were killed late Satur­day when a mor­tar bomb fired from the Pak­istani side hit their car in the Balakote area of the sec­tor, In­dian of­fi­cials have said.

“The num­ber of dead civil­ians is now six,” Rana told AFP.

The week­end in­ci­dents came even as the two coun­tries cel­e­brated the an­niver­sary of in­de­pen­dence from the United King­dom in 1947.

Sev­eral rebel groups have for decades bat­tled In­dian forces de­ployed on the In­dian side, seek­ing ei­ther in­de­pen­dence or a merger of the ter­ri­tory with Pak­istan. The con­flict has left tens of thou­sands, mostly civil­ians, dead.

AP

Daugh­ter of In­dian civil­ian Sarpanch Kara­mat Hus­sain who was killed in Pak­istani shelling mourns at Balakot sec­tor in Poonch, Jammu and Kash­mir, In­dia, Sun­day, Aug. 16.

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