Pakistan

CHAMAN – The Chaman Border remained closed for the second consecutive day on Saturday following unprovoked firing on Pakistan’s Frontier Corps (FC) personnel appointed for security of population census team in Balochistan’s Chaman area early Friday.

At least 11 people including three children and two women were killed by the firing and shelling of Afghan forces near the major border crossing where Pakistani census officials were carrying out a count. Over 50 others including FC officers were injured.

The injured were taken to the district hospital, where two critically injured persons were referred to Quetta, where emergency has been imposed at hospitals.

Population census remained suspended in Killi Luqman and Killi Jehangir areas of border towns on Saturday.

19 Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) trucks reached the site to aid those affected by the attack.

“Over 2,000 families near the Chaman border were affected by the firing by Afghan forces,” DG Disaster Management Authority Balochistan Muhammad Tariq Hussain said. “Relief supplies have been sent their way.”

Security is on high alert in the area as fresh contingents of Pakistan Army have been deployed at the border with tanks and artillery. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is also ready to respond to any aggression by Afghan forces.

Educational institutions in the area also remained closed as people could not still start routine work due to fear of opening of fire again from Afghan side.

However, women and children who had vacated their homes started returning on Saturday afternoon, according to a private TV channel.

According to the ISPR, a hotline contact between Pakistan and Afghan Director General Military Operations was established on Friday.

During the conversation, Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Pakistan Army Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza condemned unprovoked firing on Pakistani villagers and security forces which caused casualties.

The Pakistani DGMO told his counterpart that the villages are divided i.e. situated on both the sides, but Pakistani forces and civilians are present on their own side of the border, said the ISPR statement.

Maj Gen Mirza asked Afghan DGMO to keep its forces on its side of the border and defuse the situation. He further said that Pakistan Army would continue work on its side of the border.

Afghan Director General Military Operations acknowledged that the border lies in between villages. He agreed to take up the matter and issue necessary orders accordingly.

The Pak-Afghan border will remain open in Torkham in Khyber Agency on Saturday. Trade and other activities will continue as per routine. On Friday, the Torkham border was closed for an indefinite period.