Kashmir Issue: Indian, Pakistani forces clash, nine soldiers killed

 

The Line of Control (LoC)

The Line of Control (LoC)

By Nasir Aijaz
AsiaN Correspondent

Islamabad: As the United Nations Security Council is expected to hold a session on Friday to discuss the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, their forces continued to skirmish at Line of Control (LoC), the international border between two parts of disputed region, which claimed death of at least nine soldiers.

The soldiers killed in clashes include four from Pakistan and five from India.

“Another Pakistani soldier was martyred due to Indian firing in Buttal Sector along the LoC”, Pakistan Army’s public relations department ‘Inter-Services Public Relations’ (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet on Friday.

The toll of the killed Pakistani soldiers now stands at four, after three soldiers were killed one day earlier as the Indian Army increased firing along LoC.

In retaliatory gunfire, Pakistan Army killed five Indian soldiers, injured many, and damaged bunkers across the LoC, DG ISPR said.

On Wednesday, the Pakistani Foreign Office had summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to record its protest against the violation of ceasefire agreement and firing on innocent civilians across the LoC.

According to the FO, Indian security forces on Tuesday had martyred a civilian in unprovoked firing in Tattapani sector. It had also said the Indian army was continuously targeting civilians on the Control Line and Working Boundary.

Pakistan had approached the UN Security Council through a letter to convene the session and Radio Pakistan had quoted UNSC President as saying that the session will “most probably” be held on Friday.

On Wednesday, China backed Pakistan’s request for the international body to discuss India’s move of revoking Kashmir’s Special Status and asked the UNSC to meet behind closed doors on Thursday or Friday.

However, France responded to the request by proposing that the council discuss the issue in a less formal manner, known as “any other business”, next week, diplomats said.

In a post shared on Twitter a day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had questioned the international community’s silence on Indian-administered Kashmir situation and warned that should ethnic cleansing of Muslims take place in the region, there would be severe repercussions in the Muslim world.

Russia on Wednesday had asked Pakistan to bilaterally resolve its dispute with India over Kashmir.

This message was given to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi when he telephoned his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to apprise him of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India after the latter revoked autonomous status of the occupied territory through a presidential order.

Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council. Although there has lately been improvement in relations between Moscow and Islamabad because of regional developments, Russia still remains a strong Indian ally and had supported Indian position after it annexed Kashmir last week.

According to a statement issued by the Russian foreign ministry, Mr. Lavrov, during the conversation, “emphasised the need to de-escalate tensions and to have no alternative to resolving differences between Pakistan and India on a bilateral basis by political and diplomatic means”.

The Russian foreign ministry further noted that its envoy at the UN would be guided by “this consistent position” and will “adhere to it” when the discussion on the Pakistani letter to the Security Council starts.

However, according to media reports, the Arab countries have remained mostly silent on Indian government’s move of stripping Kashmir’s limited autonomy and imposing military curfew there. The muted response is said to be underpinned by $100 billion in annual trade with India that makes it one of the Arabian Peninsula’s most valued economic partners.

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