India summons Pakistani charge d’affaires to protest civilian deaths in LoC bombings
India on Saturday summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires to hold a strong protest over unprovoked violations of the ceasefire by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the shots were aimed at supporting cross-border infiltration of terrorists.
Aftab Hassan Khan, the acting head of Pakistan’s high commission, was summoned by the Foreign Ministry a day after violations of the ceasefire by Pakistani troops triggered an intense exchange of gunfire. Nine Indians, including four civilians and five security personnel, were killed, while the retaliatory bombardment killed at least eight Pakistani soldiers and wounded a dozen more.
A vigorous protest was filed on Friday with the Pakistani charge d’affaires over unprovoked violations of the ceasefire by Pakistani forces in multiple sectors along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in the “deaths of four innocent civilians and serious injuries to 19 others “. Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
“India condemns, in the strongest terms, the deliberate attacks against innocent civilians by Pakistani forces,” the statement said.
“It is very regrettable that Pakistan has chosen a festive occasion in India to disrupt the peace and perpetrate violence in Jammu and Kashmir through coordinated firing throughout the LoC with large-caliber weapons, including artillery and mortar, against Indian civilians,” he added, referring to the Diwali festival.
India also vigorously protested “Pakistan’s continued support for cross-border terrorist infiltration into India, including through supporting covering fire provided by Pakistani forces,” the statement said.
The Indian side reminded Pakistan of its bilateral commitment not to allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any way.
On Saturday, an uneasy calm settled along the LoC in the Uri and Gurez sectors after heavy bombardment from both sides across the de facto border. Following unprovoked fire by Pakistani forces, the Indian army had retaliated with artillery cannons and anti-tank guided missiles.
Pakistani ammunition and fuel depots and terror launch pads were among the targets destroyed by the Indian bombardment, authorities said.
The intense exchange of gunfire on the eve of Diwali brought the spotlight to the LoC at a time when Indian and Chinese forces are locked in a clash along the Royal Line of Control (LAC) in Ladakh.