Pakistan said three Army personnel and nine civilians were killed in cross-border firing on Wednesday when the Indian troops launched a massive attack against Pakistani posts along the Line of Control, reported Geo News. Islamabad has also said that Indian troops targeted a passenger bus and claimed several civilian lives in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Lawat area on the same day.
India, on its part, claimed that Pakistan opened fire on civilian targets in Machil, Keran and Gurez. However, there was no loss of life. All of this comes a day after the Indian Army promised “heavy retribution” following Pakistani attack in Machhil sector of north Kashmir where three Indian jawans were killed. India’s External Affairs Ministry summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to lodge a protest against the ceasefire violations and the deaths of the soldiers in Machil.
Later in the evening, the director generals of military operations of both the countries held unscheduled talks. Pakistani DGMO Major General Sahid Shamshad Mirza raised the matter of civilian deaths caused by retaliatory firing by India along the LoC, for which Indian DGMO Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh expressed grief.
However, Singh said Indian troops had only targeted locations from where Pakistani forces had carried out ceasefire violations. The Indian DGMO flagged the infiltration attempts by militant groups from across the border as well the killing of three Indian soldiers by Pakistani commandos on Tuesday. The body of one of the jawans was found mutilated. Singh warned his Pakistani counterpart that his troops will respond to any unprovoked firing and infiltration attempts, urging Mirza to discourage the country’s armed forces from violating the ceasefire agreement.
Pakistan has also set up a committee to frame a “doable and sustainable India-Kashmir policy”. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz said Islamabad would also reach out to sections of the Indian public that are opposed to the Narendra Modi government’s “extremist” policies on the Kashmir dispute.
Relations between the neighbouring countries worsened after the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes along the LoC on September 29. Between September 29 and November 15, there have been 279 incidents of cross-border firing in which 12 military personnel and 12 civilians have been killed, according to The Indian Express.