Defence attaches of six countries visit LoC

MUZAFFARABAD: Defence attachés of six key countries visited the restive Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to get first-hand knowledge about the situation in the wake of incessant ceasefire violations by Indian troops.

The visit took place in Rawala­kot sector of Poonch district, where Indian shelling has caused several civilian casualties in recent weeks.

A man was killed and at least four others were injured as Indian troops continued ceasefire violations, an official said.

The casualties occurred in Nakyal sector of Kotli district, where shelling began at about 5:30pm, Assistant Commissioner Waleed Anwar told Dawn. “They used mortar and airburst shells, apart from small arms,” he said.

The shelling stopped at about 9pm, leaving Muhammad Farooq, 48, martyred in Dharoti Naari village, he added. In the same village, Zeeshan, 18, Mohammad Sabir, 60, and Mohammad Naseer, 48, sustained injuries while 12-year-old Shams Aftab was wounded in Datote village. They were shifted to District Headquarters Hospital in Kotli, he said.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), attachés of the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Turkey and Indonesia were briefed about the Indian atrocities, including targeting of civilians.

The diplomats interacted with victims of ceasefire violations to learn about their sufferings, the ISPR said, adding they were also apprised about the activities undertaken by Pakistan Army to provide relief to the AJK population.

According to Chaudhry Tariq Farooq, AJK’s senior minister, the so-called professionalism of Indian army had plunged to new lows, as they were regularly sniping at innocent and unarmed men, women and children in AJK.

He cited the killing of a 23-year-old labourer in Hajira sector of Poonch district on Thursday, a boy in Khuiratta sector of Kotli district on Feb 19, and a school van driver in Hajira sector of Poonch district on Feb 15, as the most recent “naked examples of bloodthirstiness” of Indian troops.

He maintained that targeted killings of civilians were aimed at frightening the otherwise fearless and resilient population of AJK. Such horrendous acts, he said, constituted terrible crimes against humanity and necessitated immediate intervention of the United Nations and big powers.

Masood meets COAS

Meanwhile, AJK President Sardar Masood Khan called on Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters.

According to an ISPR statement, they discussed matters of mutual interest with focus on the situation along the LoC. The two agreed to continue policy of restraint against Indian provocation as it was the Kashmiris who suffered from escalation on both sides.

The AJK president lauded Pakistan Army for its contribution to security and development in the region.

Separately, the army chief presented academic excellence awards to students of Army Public School and College System (APSACS), who got distinctions in SSC and HSSC exams of the federal board.

Gen Bajwa congratulated the students and their parents as well as faculty over the excellent results.“The young generation is our asset and we are proud of their achievement,” said the ISPR quoting the army chief.

Reaffirming the army’s commitment to education, he said, they would do their best to provide support for improvement of education in the country.

A large number of students, parents, faculty and staff of the APSACS secretariat attended the ceremony.