India lodges protest over civilian deaths in Pakistan shelling

A defence spokesman in Kashmir said Pakistani troops started shelling in the Balakote sector around 7.45 am Sunday.

Published: 20th March 2018 06:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2018 10:31 AM   |  A+A-

India and Pakistan flags

Image for representational purpose only.

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan, Syed Haider Shah, was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday and a strong protest was lodged over the death of five innocent Indian civilians (a family comprising a husband, wife and three children) and grievous injuries caused to two other minor children in unprovoked ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces on March 18, 2018 in Bhimber Gali Sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

“It was conveyed that the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, who are located two kilometres away from the forward line of defences, by Pakistan forces using high-calibre weapons, is highly deplorable and is condemned in the strongest terms. Such heinous acts are against established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct. Pakistan authorities are called upon to investigate into such heinous acts and instruct its forces to desist from such acts immediately,” an MEA release said.

“Our strong concerns were shared at continued unprovoked firing and ceasefire violations across the Line of Control and the International Border. More than 560 such violations have been carried out by Pakistan forces at the Line of Control so far during 2018, in which 23 Indian civilians have been killed and 70 others have been injured. The Pakistan side was also asked to end the support being given to cross-border infiltration of terrorists, including through covering fire,” it said.

Deputy Commissioner Poonch, Tariq Zargar, told The New Indian Express on Sunday that a mortar shell fired by Pakistani troops hit the one-room mud house of Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan in Lower Devta area of Balakote sector in Poonch district, killing five members of the family and injuring two young girls.

The deceased were identified as 35-year-old Mohammad Ramzan, S/o Abdullaha, his wife Malika Bi, 32, and their sons, Abdul Rehman (14), Mohammad Rizwan (12) and Razaq Ramzan (7). The injured, identified as Ramzan’s daughters Nasreen, 11, and Mehreen, 5, were airlifted to Government Medical College Hospital Jammu for treatment.

A defence spokesman in Kashmir said Pakistani troops started shelling in the Balakote sector around 7.45 am Sunday, targeting civilian areas. Indian forces had retaliated forcefully, he said.Meanwhile, reports from Pakistan said that at least nine people, including two minor girls, were injured in heavy shelling by Indian troops in Nakyal sector of Occupied Kashmir on Sunday.

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