Islamabad - A Pakistan Army Captain was martyred and another solider seriously wounded on Wednesday in the latest incident of unprovoked Indian firing across the Line of Control (LoC), sparking anger among the people as the media flashed the incident.
The unfortunate incident also prompted the Foreign Office to once again summon the Indian Deputy High Commissioner inIslamabadand lodge a strong protest over the continued ceasefire violation.
“A Pakistan Army officer Captain Sarfraz embraced Shahadat due to Indian troops’ unprovoked shelling at Shakma sector (near Skardu) on Line of Control,” a Pakistani military statement said.
Another soldier, Sepoy Yasin, has also been seriously wounded in the Indian fire that started on Tuesday night at11:15pm, the statement said, adding that Pakistani forces effectively responded to the firing and the exchange of fire continued for around three hours.
An Indian army official came up with counter allegation, telling Reuters that Indian troops came under heavy mortar and light-machine gun fire from the Pakistani side in the Kargil region.
The common Pakistanis responded to the incident with fury as anchors at different TV channels called for effective measures to makeIndiaabandon this rogue behavior wherein its border troops have repeatedly fired into Pakistani territory in recent weeks that has even resulted in deaths and injuries to civilians in the border areas.
Skirmishes have erupted across the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) since five Indian soldiers were killed earlier this month in an ambush by unidentified militants on August 6 whichDelhihas blamed on thePakistanarmy.Islamabadhas categorically denied any involvement in that ambush.
Indian Defence Minister A K Antony issued a direct threat on Monday, saying their army would take ‘all possible steps’ to counter ‘ceasefire violations byPakistan’ along the disputed border inKashmir.
A truce along theirKashmirborder has held for nearly a decade even though it has been broken every now and then by tit-for-tat artillery fire and the occasional cross-border ambush. Most of the times the ceasefire has been violated by the Indian troops who then habitually blame it on the Pakistan Army.
The renewed tensions have jeopardised plans for what the two governments hoped might be a breakthrough encounter between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of a UN meeting inNew Yorknext month.
But with elections approaching inIndia, many doubt that the government inNew Delhiis in a position to make any concessions toPakistan. Hamid Gul, a former chief ofPakistan’s military intelligence agency, told Reuters Television that Sharif had been prepared to reach out toIndiain the hope of mending ties before the spate of clashes put paid to that.
“It would’ve meant puttingKashmiron the back burner for the time being. But now all this has happened. And all the lobbies that have been talking about peace betweenIndiaandPakistan... have been scuttled,” Gul said.
Kashmirhas been the trigger for two of the three wars between the nations. The two sides fought an undeclared war in Kargil region in 1999. But the region had been peaceful since then until shooting began again last week. Tensions have flared between the nuclear-armed neighbours in recent weeks over the Himalayan territory, which both control in part but claim in full.
India has faced an insurgency in its part of Kashmir since 1989 and had long accused Pakistan of supporting the militants fighting Indian rule. Pakistan denies arming the militants, saying that it only offers moral support to the Muslim people of Kashmir who are living under harsh Indian rule.
Pakistan’s government, elected in a May general election, has tried to be conciliatory over the latest outbreak of border violence. On Monday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who made better ties with India a theme of his election campaign, said Pakistan and India should be fighting poverty and illiteracy instead of each other. He has also asked for talks with Indian officials.