Muzaffarabad [Pakistan]: Five people died in firing along the Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday, the Pakistani military and local officials said, as tensions between nuclear-armed rivals Islamabad and New Delhi soar over the Himalayan region.
Skirmishes are frequent across the LoC, but the latest deaths in two separate incidents come after Pakistan warned it was ready to meet any Indian aggression over Kashmir.
“In efforts to divert attention from precarious situation in IOJ&K (Indian-held Kashmir),Indian Army increases firing along LOC. 3 Pakistani soldiers embraced shahadat. Pakistan Army responded effectively,” the Pakistani military said in a statement.
“5 Indian soldiers killed, many injured, bunkers damaged. Intermittent exchange of fire continues,” it added, without specifying further where the incident took place.
Separately, two civilians were killed and one injured by the Indian troops along the LoC in Rawalakot district in Pakistani-held Kashmir, a senior local official there told AFP.
The official, Mirza Arshad Jarral, said intermittent exchanges of fire between the two militaries had been going on since morning.
India denied Pakistan army’s claim about five Indian soldiers getting killed in an exchange of fire.
An Indian Army officer termed the claim made by Pakistan’s Director General Inter Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) as “fictitious”.
The official, however, acknowledged that there was ceasefire violation in Nowgam and Krishna Ghati sector, but there was no casualty on the Indian side.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir — though none since both countries acquired nuclear weapons.
Tensions skyrocketed following India’s shock move to revoke the autonomy of Kashmir.
On Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the local legislative assembly of Pakistan occupied Kashmir in Muzaffarabad.
He vowed the time had come to teach Delhi a lesson and promised to “fight until the end” against any Indian aggression.
Khan has also likened India’s moves in Kashmir to Nazi Germany, accused them of ethnic cleansing, and appealed to the international community to take action.
Pakistan formally asked the United Nations Security Council late Tuesday to hold an emergency session to address the situation.