Pak Resumes Shelling, Firing In Poonch

25 April 2014
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: After a long gap, Pakistan Army today again resorted to heavy unprovoked firing on the Indian positions at Shahpur Kirni sub sector of Doda battalion area in Poonch district using mortars and other firearms for more than three hours, leading to revival of tensions on the Line of Control (LoC). The Indian side retaliated effectively. Unconfirmed reports said that a big group of militants tried to infiltrate under covering fire by the Army but troops foiled their plan. Army spokesman Col Manish Mehta said Pakistan Army started unprovoked firing on Indian positions at 9.15 am using semi automatic and automatic weapons in Poonch sector. 'Our troops retaliated using similar caliber,' he added. The firing ceased at 12.30 pm, Col Mehta said. Official sources said Pakistan Army started heavy firing targeting forward Indian posts at Shahpur Kirni sub sector in Doda battalion area of Poonch district at 9.15 am. The Indian troops initially exercised restraint but as the Pakistani troops started using medium to heavy fire arms after light arms firing, the Indian side gave an effective response. Pakistan Army also fired several mortar shells toward the Indian posts in Shahpur Kirni, sources said, adding that half a dozen posts of the Army came under heavy firing and shelling from across the LoC. However, there were no casualties or damage on Indian side in firing and shelling by the Pakistan troops. Casualties or damage, if any, on the other side was not known. Sources said no reasons could be ascertained immediately behind sudden unprovoked firing and shelling by the Pakistan Army, which came after a long time. The hostilities between Indo-Pak troops on the LoC had ceased in the month of September last year and since then a virtual calm was prevailing on the LoC excepting occasional infiltration attempts by the militants, backed by the Pakistani troops. The hostilities between the two sides had aggravated after the killing of five Indian Army soldiers on the intervening night of August 4 and 5, 2013 in Chakan-Da-Bagh area of Poonch district by the Pakistani troops. The hostilities had even spread to the International Border in Jammu. However, after the month of October last year, there was virtual peace on the LoC as well as IB. Even during general elections for Jammu-Poonch and Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seats, the borders remained peaceful. Pakistan military's media wing ISPR late this evening claimed in Islamabad that it was Indian Army, which started the firing on the Pakistani posts. Unconfirmed reports said that Pakistan Army made a desperate attempt to push a group of trained militants into the Indian territory under the cover of heavy firing and shelling by trying to divert attention of the Indian troops. However, Pakistan Army failed in its plot. Sources said as troops retaliated Pakistan firing, their posts maintained a strict vigil on the LoC to ensure that the militants didn't manage to infiltrate into the Indian side under the covering firing. Troops also conducted searches along the LoC after the firing came to a halt but found no traces of infiltration by the militants, they added. Meanwhile, Pakistan's Director-General of Military Operations today called up his Indian counterpart to discuss the ceasefire violation along the LoC in Poonch district this morning. The Pakistani DGMO called up the Indian DGMO and alleged that Indian troops violated the ceasefire but the Indian side told them that the violation was done by the Pakistani troops, sources said. They added that the Pakistani DGMO complained that the Indian side had violated the ceasefire and sought a sector commander-level meeting to resolve the issue and look at the ground situation. However, the Indian Army sources denied that any such meeting was proposed by the Pakistani side. Sources said Pakistan's DGMO reiterated the commitment for maintaining the ceasefire and adhere to the pacts signed between the DGMOs of the two sides in December last year.