Van driver martyred in Indian firing
Pakistan Army on Thursday killed five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control in Tatta Pani sector in retaliation to earlier Indian firing on a school van martyring its driver, said the Inter-Services Public Relations.
Five Indian soldiers were killed and many injured when Pakistani troops destroyed the Indian army post that was “targeting innocent citizens” in Tatta Pani sector of Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Kotli district, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet.
The development came hours after the Indian troops hit a school van in a highly vulnerable border village in AJK, killing its driver on the spot, local officials said. “Indian terrorism against innocent citizens shall be responded [to] befittingly,” he wrote. Ghafoor’s tweet also included a video showing the reported targeting of the Indian post.
After the earlier Indian attack, the act was condemned by the Army spokesman. “Indian unethical and unprofessional approach across the LoC continues terrorising civilians.”
Major General Asif Ghafoor had reiterated that such attacks are a violation of the Geneva Convention and a clear violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. The van was bringing back at least four students from Mandhol to their homes in the Dharamsal area, where it was targeted by Indian troops at about 1:30pm, Assistant Commissioner of Hajira Sikandar Hayat told media by telephone.
“Indian troops aimed at the vehicle with burst fire … and as a result, the driver lost his life on the spot,” he said. He identified the victim as Mohammad Sarfraz. “The students sitting in the vehicle, however, miraculously escaped unhurt,” Hayat said. According to locals, though most of the families had lately moved out of Dharamsal due to unrelenting Indian shelling, some still lived there at the peril of their lives.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh to protest the latest “unprovoked” ceasefire violation by India across the LoC in which a school van was targeted. “Despite calls for restraint, India continues to indulge in ceasefire violations,” a press release issued by the FO said.
According to the FO, Indian forces have committed more than 335 ceasefire violations since the start of 2018, killing 14 civilians and injuring 65 others. “The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws,” the statement said.