Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Three members of the United Nations Military Observers Mission for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) had a close call along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday after Indian troops opened fire at two Pakistanis who were briefing them on ceasefire violations from across the border.

The UN observers were interacting with local people in Polas village in Abbaspur sector of Poonch district where the UN observers had reached in two white vehicles hoisting blue UN flags, the Dawn reported, when the Indian side opened fire.

Two people, identified as Sardar Saghir and Muhammad Azam Qureshi of Polas and its neighbouring Taroti village, were left critically injured by the firing.

The injured persons were shifted to Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan Hospital Rawalakot, the UN observers also left for the district headquarters of Poonch to record their statements.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media affairs wing of the Pakistan Army, has yet to issue any statement on the incident.

The heavily militarised LoC has been witnessing ceasefire violations in a serious breach of the November 2003 truce agreement signed by the Pakistani and Indian armies particularly after September 2016, when an Indian army base in Uri was attacked by suspected militants, leaving 18 Indian soldiers dead.

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Scores of civilians have either lost their lives or suffered serious injuries in frequent ceasefire violations in different parts of AJK.

However, of late Indian troops have resorted to deliberate targeting of civilians in AJK while they are doing daily chores in the vulnerable areas along the LoC.

In May 2017, two UN observers had a narrow escape in AJK’s southernmost Bhimber district, when their vehicle was allegedly targeted by Indian troops from across the LoC.

The UNMOGIP has remained in the area to observe developments pertaining to the strict observance of the ceasefire of December 17, 1971 and report thereon to the Secretary-General, according to UN site.

Monitoring of the LoC situation by the UN military observers has often upset India which has long been opposing their presence on both side of the divide.

New Delhi has argued that the UN had little role to play after India and Pakistan signed Simla agreement in 1972 under which the two countries agreed to resolve all disputes including Kashmir bilaterally.

However, Pakistan has frequently called for third-party involvement to settle the dispute in Kashmir.