Pak Resumes Heavy Shelling, Firing In Balakote

14 September 2015
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Pakistan army again resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing on forward Indian positions and civilian areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Balakote sector of Poonch district prompting effective retaliation from the Indian side. Pakistan shelling and firing came just a day after a BSF officer was killed in the shelling and firing in Gambhir sector of Manjakote in Rajouri district, bordering Balakote. Official sources said Pakistani troops started unprovoked and heavy shelling with 82 mm and 62 mm mortars and Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) targeting forward posts of the Indian Army and civil population in Balakote sector, which had witnessed intense shelling last month, at 6.45 pm today. The Indian side immediately retaliated effectively using equal calibre of weapons and mortar shells. Exchange of intense shelling and firing continued for exactly one hour after which the intensity came down and intermittent exchange of firing was going on. 'There were no casualties or damage on the Indian side in shelling and firing,' sources said. Six civilians were killed and over 20 others were injured in heavy shelling by Pakistan Army in Balakote sector on August 15 and 16. There has been no let up in ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army on the LoC in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Yesterday, Pakistani troops fired mortar bombs at Gambhir in Rajouri sector killing a BSF officer, barely 24 hours after pledging not to resort to mortar shelling. As part of efforts to bring peace on the border, India and Pakistan on Saturday had decided to put a complete ban on firing of mortar shells along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir which has claimed the lives of several civilians and damaged their houses. The two sides also agreed to jointly resolve sensitive issues like ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration through timely exchange of information, including via email and over telephone. There have been 16 ceasefire violations in September this year. Eleven people, including two jawans, were killed and over 30 injured in August during ceasefire violations by Pakistan. There have been over 251 violations of the border ceasefire agreement by Pakistan in the year so far, of which 57 were in August.