Pakistan protests killing of civilians in Indian shelling

Indian army soldiers and civilians pay tribute to Mohd Shoukat, an off duty soldier who was was killed during firing from across the Line of Control between India and Pakistan in Gulpur sector of Poonch district about 230 km north of Jammu, during his funeral, on Saturday.

:: Pakistan says it has summoned an Indian diplomat after five civilians were killed by “unprovoked” Indian fire across the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region.

The Foreign Ministry announced the move on Sunday, a day after Pakistan’s military said Indian forces had shelled two areas.

Director General (DG) of South Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Dr. Mohammad Faisal summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations.

“Indian attempts to deflect international attention from the worsening situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir due to its repressive measures by heating up the LoC shall fail,” a press release stated.

Pakistan urged India to respect the 2003 ceasefire agreement in letter and spirit, investigate the incident and maintain peace along the border.

The ministry in its statement categorically rejected what it said were “the standard Indian allegations of infiltration across the LoC”.

It also said that Pakistan has “consistently maintained that it was essential that the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) should be allowed to play its role as mandated by the UN Security Council resolutions.”

“The deliberate targeting of civilians is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws,” the statement added.

Meanwhile in an unrelated development, Pakistan on Sunday released 78 Indian fishermen held for trespassing into its territorial waters, officials said.

“The fishermen were released from Karachi’s Landhi jail,” an official of the provincial home department of Sindh, Naseem Siddiqui said.

The freed fishermen are expected to cross over into India on Monday.

Siddiqui said, “298 Indian fishermen are still imprisoned and will be released on completion of the verification of their nationalities by India.”

Indian and Pakistani fishermen are frequently detained for illegal fishing since the Arabian Sea border is not clearly defined and many boats lack the technology to fix their precise location.

The fishermen often languish in jail, even after serving their terms, as poor diplomatic ties between the two neighbors mean fulfilling bureaucratic requirements can take a long time.

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