Address by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Civilians killed as India, Pakistan trade fire

Civilians killed as India, Pakistan trade fire
11 May
2017

At least two civilians have been killed on either side of the disputed border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, officials say, as the South Asian neighbours traded artillery and small arms fire.

Pakistan's foreign office said on Thursday that a man called Muhammad Rizwan was killed by Indian shelling on in the village of Subzkot, in Pakistani-administered Kashmir. At least two other people were also wounded in the exchange of fire, it added.

A 35-year-old woman was also killed on Thursday in the Nowshera area, in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Lieutenant colonel Manish Mehta, an Indian army spokesman, said Pakistani soldiers attacked Indian military posts with automatic weapons and mortars along the highly militarised Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between the nuclear-armed countries. The woman's husband was wounded in the shelling, police said.

Pakistan's foreign office, meanwhile, summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner to condemn what it termed "the unprovoked ceasefire violation by the Indian occupation forces" overnight.

"The deliberate targeting of civilians is indeed condemnable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws," it said in a statement.

Pakistan and India maintain a 2003 ceasefire agreement across the LoC, but both sides frequently violate it, usually blaming the other for instigating hostilities.

Both countries have claimed the Kashmir region in full since partition and independence from Britain in 1947, but administer separate portions of it. The South Asian neighbours have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

Tensions have been high in Kashmir since last July, when Indian security forces killed a young Kashmiri rebel leader, prompting months of widespread protests and an ensuing security crackdown in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed at least 80 people.

Relations between India and Pakistan plummeted after a raid in September on an Indian military base in Uri by Kashmiri fighters killed at least 18 soldiers.

That attack prompted India to respond by saying it launched "surgical strikes" on bases used by armed groups in Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Pakistan denied that Indian forces ever entered Pakistani-administered territory.

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