India, Pakistan trade fire — and charges (Roundup)

New Delhi/Islamabad, July 16 (IANS) India and Pakistan on Thursday lodged protests against each other after cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir left one dead and seven people injured, days after bonhomie between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan on Thursday summoned India’s High Commissioner T.C.A. Raghavan and registered a protest over the firing as well as an alleged “Indian spy drone”. India took up the issue with Pakistan’s envoy Abdul Basit.

The rising tensions along the Jammu and Kashmir border — where civilians have been hit hard on both sides — follows the July 11 joint statement between India and Pakistan reached at Ufa, Russia, to build peace.

There have been at least six violations of the 2003 ceasefire by Pakistan in the past four days.

On July 12, Pakistani forces opened fire at Uri. A day later, there was firing at Kupwara and Samba. The firing was reported from Jammu sector on Thursday.

Four people working on their fields in villages in R.S. Pura near the international border in Jammu and Kashmir were injured in Pakistani firing on Thursday, a day ahead of Modi’s visit to the region.

The injured were identified as Balvinder Singh, Roop Lal, Sandev Kumar and Varinder Kumar. They were shifted to hospitals.

The Dawn reported that one person was killed and three injured in Pakistan’s Sialkot district when Indian security forces opened fire at Pakistani positions.

According to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations, the victim was 45-year-old Ghulam Mustafa of Malana village.

Heavy firing between Indian and Pakistani security forces started on Thursday at 7 a.m. at four border outposts.

On Wednesday, a woman was killed and four people – two troopers and two civilians – were injured in indiscriminate shelling by Pakistan Rangers in Akhnoor sector.

Villagers living close to the border showed journalists bullet marks and gaping holes made by Pakistan mortar shelling on their houses.

India has taken up with Pakistan the issue of heavy firing. “Yesterday the matter was raised with (Pakistan High Commissioner) Abdul Basit,” official sources told IANS.

The Pakistan Foreign Office summoned the Indian envoy and registered a strong protest with him, reported Geo TV.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said India should respect and abide by all bilateral agreements.

Pakistan on Wednesday said an “Indian spy drone” was shot down by its army along the Line of Control in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. India denied the claim.

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said on Thursday that the drone brought down by Pakistan was not from India and was of Chinese origin that was commercially available.

A protest was also lodged for the overnight unprovoked ceasefire violation by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) at the LoC and Working Boundary.

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