On February 11th 2018, six people including two children were injured in different villages of Azad Jammu and Kashmir during India’s unprovoked shelling along the Line of Control (LOC), officials confirmed.
India has launched a combing operation to flush out the heavily armed Jaish-e Muhammad militants from the 36 military stations at Sunjuwan in Jammu, which has been under way since the last 51 hours.
Saima, 10, was injured in the village of Tatta Pani and Nagina Aqsad, 36, in Chattar village of Khuiratta sector in Kotli district, a police official confirmed. They were both shifted to the Kotli District Headquarters Hospital.
Inter-Services Public Relations responded to the Indian army’s unprovoked firing along the LOC in different sectors, targeting civilian populations, “Pakistan Army troops responded effectively to Indian ceasefire violations and targeted those posts which [had] initiated unprovoked firing,” the military’s media affairs wing said which had inflicted “substantial damage” to the Indian army.
In Poonch district, 18-year-old Mohammad Nazeer fell victim to the Indian shelling when he was riding his motorbike through Dhar Bazaar of Battal sector, said Poonch Deputy Commissioner Raja Tahir Mumtaz. In the same sector, Saba Azad, 24, was injured while doing household chores.
The heavily militarized LoC has been witnessing ceasefire violations in a serious breach of an agreement signed by the two countries in November 2003 resulting in frequent civilian casualties. Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly briefing, “During 2017, there were more than 1,300 Indian ceasefire violations, the highest ever in the recent past, [that] have resulted in 52 deaths and [left] 175 injured. We have consistently stressed that Indian aggression is a threat to regional peace and tranquility.”
Most recently on February 5th, two people were killed and four wounded in Poonch and Kotli districts in Indian shelling. According to the disaster management authority, seven civilians have been killed and 41 injured so far this year in Indian shelling from across the LoC.
Both Pakistan and India accused each other in violating the ceasefire agreement. This blame game continued and India labeled this “unprovoked firing” as mere “retaliation.” To avoid prevailing misperceptions between the two countries on ceasefire violations, India and Pakistan could implement the 2003 ceasefire agreement to maintain order across both borders. This would immensely benefit civilian populations living along the border.
Moreover, local commanders could be empowered to meet periodically to discuss and resolve local disputes that could escalate, and both sides could be made to withdraw heavy weapons from close to the border. But first both sides need to summon the political will to safeguard the ceasefire. So far contemporarily, neither side has displayed signs of such will to remove their trust deficit.
It is clear that General Pervez Musharraf’s ceasefire of November 2003 never met the approval of his corps commanders. The policy is now totally in reverse since 2014. The ceasefire became less effective since 2008. Pakistan may focus on strengthening defensive infrastructure along with necessary countering of terrorist infiltration and to prohibit India in targeting Pakistan’s counter-value forces (Targeting the civilians or masses). Besides this the window towards engagement and bilateral talks is always open from Pakistan’s side.
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua underscored the need to stop the unprecedented escalation by the Indian army at LoC on October 13th, 2017. She said, “Indian regime’s actions were a serious threat to the maintenance of regional peace. While emphasizing the important role of the United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOGIP) which has the mandate for maintaining peace and tranquility at the LoC and the Working Boundary, India is not cooperative and limits their access.”
Pakistan maintains that India should permit UNMOGIP to play its mandated role in line with the UNSC resolutions to ensure peace.
India continues to violate the ceasefire to pursue its two objectives. First, to divert the attention of the international community from the massive human rights violations by the Indian military in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) and secondly to present Pakistan as the state sponsoring uprisings in IOK. India is trying to legitimize its massive oppression against Kashmiri masses who are asking for their right of self-determination in IoK.