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Low intensity firing at LOC

04 March, 2019

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MUZAFFARABAD: Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged intermittent fire in some areas across the restive Line of Control (LoC) overnight, but its intensity was low, civil and military officials said on Sunday. Recently, the heavily militarised LoC had been volcanic after Indian jets intruded into Pakistani airspace in the small hours of Tuesday and jettisoned their payload on a hillock near Balakot.

The same evening, Indian troops resorted to ruthless shelling across the LoC, killing four civilians and injuring around a dozen others in Kotli district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Tensions at the dividing line escalated after Pakistan shot down two Indian jets in Samahni sector of Bhimber district on Wednesday, and Indian troops took revenge on the defenceless civilian population along the LoC.

Two Pakistani soldiers and one civilian embraced martyrdom and scores of other civilians were injured between Wednesday and Saturday due to India’s ruthless shelling. However, since Saturday night the LoC has been by and large calm, according to officials and residents.

“On the whole, the ceasefire line (LoC) was calm last night but you never know when it will become hot and active again,” said Chaudhry Tariq Farooq, AJK’s senior minister, on Sunday.

“However, tension still prevails because our enemy (India) appears to be in no mood to de-escalate obviously for her domestic political consumptions,” he said.

He advised people living along the LoC to ensure adherence to precautionary measures advised by the government in the interest of their safety and security.

Residents along the LoC said there had been an exchange of fire but civilians were not hit.

“There was intermittent firing last night but it stopped at about 4am in the morning,” said Abdul Majeed, a resident of Samahni sector where Indian jets were shot down by Pakistan Air Force.

However, the apparent calm notwithstanding the AJK government has ordered all state-run and private educational institutions in the vulnerable areas along LoC to remain closed for another three days at least.

The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media affairs wing of Pakistan Army, also said the LoC was relatively calm, except for sporadic fire in three sectors of Haveli, Kotli and Bhimber districts.

“After heavy exchange of fire on Friday and Saturday, there is relative calm along LoC with intermittent fire during last night in Nezapir, Jandrot and Baghsar sectors,” it said in a statement.

The ISPR said Pakistani troops had effectively responded to Indian fire by targeting Indian posts.

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