Firing across LoC

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At least three persons were killed and five others injured as Indian troops continue cross border firing across the Line of Control (LoC).A 30-year old police constable, Imtiaz, died on the spot after being hit by a mortar shell in Nakyal sector of Kotli, Assistant Commissioner Nakyal Sardar Zeeshan Nisar told mediaA women Azmat Bibi was killed in Oli Panjni and a man Safri was killed in Bai Dhara villages of Nakyal sector, Nisar added.“The Indians are ruthlessly targeting civilian populations. Exact losses can be obtained only when the shelling subsides,” he said. Mohammad Bashir and Said Mohammad were injured in Nakyal sector and referred to DHQ Hospital Kotli. Haji Azad, a resident of Nakyal, said, “Indiscriminate shelling began in the morning and continued late in the day, forcing everyone to stay indoors.” In the northeastern Neelum valley, Indian troops hit a vehicle on the main Neelum valley road near Danjar, causing injuries to two passengers, including a young boy.Another person was injured in Falakan village, said Deputy Commissioner Neelum Sardar Waheed. He added that the administration was not allowing any tourist in the area, but local residents can carefully travel.Military sources said Pakistani troops also “befittingly” responded to Indian shelling.
The Battal, Madarpur and Darra Sher Khan sectors in the southern Poonch district remained calm.Earlier on Sunday, six people, including two women, were injured in these sectors in Indian shelling that continued till late evening. At least 25 houses and three vehicles were partially or completely damaged and four cattle heads killed in Sunday’s shelling in Battal, Madarpur and Darra Sher Khan sectors.The frequency of incidents of casualties on the across the line of control (LOC) as a result of cross border firing and shelling has increased to a point where it is almost a daily occurrence. With every instance of worsening relations with India, ceasefire violations increase and when and if there is de-escalation and the firing stops, no one stops to ask how many lives were lost on both sides. This time though, with daily incidents of cross border firing, an Indian activist asked just that under India’s right to information act – something Pakistan does not have- and the answer is startling. Post Kargil (1999) as many as 4,675 Indian soldiers have been killed due to cross border firing. There was no information about the number of incidents. Going by the retaliatory nature of such incidents it would be safe to assume that casualties on the Pakistani side will also be in the high four digit numbers – the ratio cannot realistically be too skewed in our favour in that respect. The reply from the Indian army does not include the number of civilian casualties due to LOC firing, a figure that is definitely higher than the number of dead soldiers. In light of these figures there has to be realisation on both sides how little is achieved through cross border firing and how much is lost in terms of money, time and especially lives of soldiers and civilians. The only way forward as evidenced by so many wars and skirmishes fought between the two perpetual enemies is dialogue.