September 2017 News

Pak Army Invites Trouble For Itself, Shelling Leads To Protests In PoK

3 September 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: : Pakistan army continued to violate ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector for third consecutive day today, leading to heavy exchanges and triggering panic among the border dwellers. While there were no casualties or damages on the Indian side, Pakistan claimed one casualty in Abbaspur sector opposite Krishna Ghati in Poonch district. Official sources told the Excelsior that apart from one casualty, which Pakistan officially admitted, there were some infrastructural damages across LoC in heavy retaliation by the Indian side this morning. Mortar shelling and firing from Pakistan stopped only after retaliatory action was taken by the Indian side. Sources said Pakistani troops started heavy shelling using 81mm and 82mm mortars and firing with both automatic and semi-automatic weapons in forward areas of Balakote, Mankote and Mendhar along LoC in Poonch district at around 8.50 am. Pakistani troops targeted forward posts of the Army and civilian areas at all three places prompting the people, who had started leaving for day's work in fields and other places, to rush back home and take shelter. 'Pakistan army directly pounded the civilian areas, a result of which many mortar shells landed close to houses of the people. However, the civilians had narrow escape at many places,' they said, adding that the Indian Army retaliated effectively at all places to silence the Pakistani guns. Shelling and firing continued for couple of hours. It stopped only after heavy retaliation by the Indian troops in which Pakistan suffered damages at forward posts. Pakistan later claimed that a civilian girl was killed in retaliatory firing by the Indian troops at village Polas in Abbaspur sector of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Reports said that there has been strong resentment among the people of forward areas of PoK against Pakistan army for resorting to mortar shelling unnecessarily, leading to casualties and damages in the Indian retaliation. Reports said that large number of people gathered at Abbaspur and held protests against Pakistan army and civil administration for making their lives miserable on LoC with their acts of unprovoked firing and shelling on the Indian side, which invited strong retaliation from India and, in turn, led to casualties and damages. Reports added that people in Abbaspur continued their 'anti-Pakistan protests' for couple of hours till some civil officers reached the spot and persuaded them to disperse. Meanwhile, sources said, going by three ceasefire violations by Pakistan army in as many days on the LoC in Poonch sector, the Battalion Commander level flag meeting held between Indian and Pakistan on August 23 at Chakan-Da-Bagh seems to have made no impact in restoring peace and normalcy on the LoC. The Battalion Commanders of the two sides had met at Chakan-Da-Bagh on August 23 and discussed host of issues including Pakistan's support to terrorists under the cover of shelling and firing and targeting of civilian areas by Pakistani troops on the Indian side. Though Pakistan had assured to maintain peace, it failed to hold up to the assurance on ground. Earlier, on September 1, Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Kamaljit Singh of the Border Security Force (BSF) attained martyrdom due to enemy fire from across the LoC at a forward post in Krishna Ghati Sector. Before that, on August 30, Pakistani troops resorted to firing and shelling in Nowshera sector, targeting forward posts and civilian areas. Yesterday, Pakistan violated ceasefire in Balnoi sector of Poonch. On August 27, five civilians, including a woman and two minor boys, were injured in a ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in Shahpur belt of Poonch district. Prior to that, on August 26, BSF troops had retaliated against violations and killed three Pakistani Rangers. On August 25, a BSF Jawan was injured in sniper fire by Pakistan Rangers along the International Border in Arnia sector of Jammu district. The year 2017 has seen a sharp increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces. Till August 1, there were 285 such violations by the Pakistan army, while in 2016 the number was significantly less at 228 for the entire year, according to the Army figures.