SIALKOT - (Agencies) - Intense firing from Indian Border Security Force on Pakistani border villages on the Sialkot Working Boundary continued through the night till Sunday morning, a day after the two countries agreed to a meeting between the director general military operations [DGMOs] to find out ways to keep the ceasefire pact intact.
It was the fifth consecutive day of Indian shelling on Sialkot border villages. Indian side opened fire on Rangers posts in Bajwat, Chaprar, Sucheetgarh and Shakargarh sectors, triggering panic and fear among local people. Many families have already started to move out to safer places.
Rangers officials said firing from Indian Border Security Force continued through the night intermittently. BSF used heavy machine guns and mortar shells, they said. Chenab Rangers retaliated instantly in a befitting manner due to which Indian guns became silent.
Officials said mortar shells fired by BSF landed into fields and civilian settlements, damaging several houses and killing cattle.
One of the mortar shells landed into the house of Muhammad Arshad in Joyiaan village ripping the roof apart. The farmer and his family members narrowly escaped.
According to reports, the meeting between the director general military operations is likely to take place on Monday [today].
Meanwhile, Indian Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid reiterated that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and US intervention is out of question.
Rejecting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s demand for US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue, Salman Khurshid on Sunday said India will not accept this as the matter is a bilateral one agreed to between the two nations.
He expressed concern over repeated ceasefire violations at the Line of Control and hoped these do not result in any more casualties. He, however, rejected suggestions that these have led to a collapse of the truce between the two neighbours.
Khurshid also said that any US economic aid to Pakistan must not be used in a manner that is detrimental to India’s security and strategic interests and hoped that Washington will keep that in mind as a “good strategic partner”.
“There is no way in which India will accept any intervention on an issue that is entirely accepted in the Simla Agreement as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan,” he told NDTV.
He said Kashmir is an integral part of India and no one should raise a question on that. “It is a waste of time for anybody no matter how eminent to be even trying to question it,” he said.
On whether the ceasefire has collapsed, he said, “I don’t think that is true. There are many violations. It is a large number of small armed fires. It is unacceptable and certainly counter-productive. But I don’t think we can at this point say that ceasefire has collapsed. That would not be a correct assessment of the situation.”
On US economic aid to Pakistan, Khurshid said, “I hope this is done keeping India’s interests in mind as United States always assures us.” Ahead of his meeting with President Barack Obama, Nawaz Sharif sought US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue.
“Though India did not want such (third party) intervention, but the world powers should get involved to resolve the (Kashmir) issue,” he told reporters in London during a stopover while on his way to US wherein he will meet Obama on Wednesday. “India and Pakistan both were nuclear powers and the region was a nuclear flashpoint,” he said.
Monitoring Desk adds: Amid continued tension along the LoC, Pakistan has asked India to resume bilateral talks in the larger interest of peace.
Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said Pakistan and India should not indulge in allegations and counter allegations regarding firing on the Line of Control. He said Pakistan wants to have good relations with all the countries including India and the US.
In an interview to BBC, Chaudhry said India and Pakistan should resume dialogue in the larger interest of peace and tranquillity in the region. He said Pakistan was strictly abiding by the ceasefire agreement along the LoC and was only reacting on the military actions of the Indian army.
He said both countries should respect ceasefire agreement and find a way forward for durable solutions to all problems.
Terming Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to the US as very important, he said it would help strengthen the relations and would help resolve important issues.
Chaudhry said Pakistan is confronted with many challenges like terrorism and its elimination would help maintain peace in the region.