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Indian troops shot at AJK PM helicopter

01 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said on Sunday that Indian troops shot at his helicopter near the Line of Control (LoC), a move that is likely to further fray ties between the two countries.

The AJK prime minister was reportedly travelling on a white helicopter to offer condolences on the demise of an acquaintance when his helicopter was shot at near Turwari. “The Indian army fired to show that Pakistan had violated their airspace,” Khan’s office said in a statement, but added, “When the firing took place, we were within our own airspace.” “It is evident that India is highly perturbed these days. I along with my ministers in the helicopter were well within our limits,” the prime minister said.

According to the regulations traditionally followed by both the countries, it is necessary for the security forces to inform each other beforehand about the mobility of military aircraft. The exercise is not mandatory for the movement of civilian helicopters.

Calling the Indian forces incompetent, the AJK prime minister said the incident happened as the neighbouring country was going to elections next year. “The Indian forces made the excuse that the helicopter crossed LoC. They are lying. They are doing it because they are going for polls in the coming days,” he said, adding, “A civilian aircraft could travel up to Zero Line, while if a military chopper has to travel up to that point, then you need to inform beforehand.” “We passed from near the LoC while the Indian forces feigned as if we had crossed the line, which is only a drama staged by them,” he said, adding that India regularly opens fire in the area where their helicopter was flying, which resultantly has martyred dozens of people so far.

The helicopter later landed safely on the ground without any damage.

Indian army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand, however, said a Pakistani helicopter violated Indian air space along the LoC in Poonch district around noon local time (0630 GMT). “It could likely be a civil chopper and was flying very high. The air sentries at forward location engaged it with small arms,” he said.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Masood Khan strongly condemned the unprovoked firing by Indian occupation forces on the civilian helicopter. Terming it an act of cowardice, the president said such moves by the Indian forces cannot suppress the just struggle by Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination. “This act displays India’s insecurities and has exposed their aggressive posturing and warmongering. Such maneuvers by Indian government and forces is aimed at diverting attention of the world community from the real issue of Kashmir and the grave human rights violations taking place in the occupied valley,” he said.

The president said the Indian government must stop such tactics and instead come to the table to resolve the issue of Kashmir according to the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

The firing incident comes a day after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi warned India of a strong response if it acts upon the so-called doctrine of ‘limited war’ against Pakistan. Addressing the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the foreign minister had said that Pakistan wanted to have friendly relations with all the neighboring countries, adding that Pakistan wanted to resolve all outstanding issues with India through dialogue.

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