Pakistan army fires at Indian posts in Poonch, offers sweets at Wagah border

  • Agencies, Jammu/ Wagah
  • Updated: Aug 14, 2016 18:10 IST
Pakistani Rangers sector Commander Shaukat Ali presents sweets to Border Security Force (BSF) Commandant Sudeep on the occasion of Pakistan's Independence Day at the Attari-Wagah border on Sunday. (PTI)

After a lull of over four months, the ceasefire along the line of control was violated Sunday morning when the Pakistan army fired at Indian positions in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian troops retaliated to the firing which was on when last reports came in.

But the firing along the line of control was in contrast with scenes at the Wagah border, where personnel from the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers exchanged sweets to mark Independence Day celebrations.

Last year, the Indian side decided against the ritual exchange following a string of terror attacks.

The ties between the two countries are at a low as Kashmir Valley continues to be restive for more than a month following the encounter death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. India blames Pakistan, which hailed Wani as a martyr, for stoking violent protests that have left 58 people dead in the Valley.

The Pakistan army resorted to heavy mortar, small arm and automatic weapon fire in Poonch sector since 3am, defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said.

“Our troops are responding appropriately and no casualties or damage to our troops was reported till the report last came in,” the spokesman said.

Tension usually mounts along the LoC, the de facto border, as the two countries celebrate their independence days a day apart.

Pakistan celebrates its independence day on Sunday, a day ahead of India.

Pakistan army has been resorting to unprovoked firing at Indian positions around August 14 and 15 ever since the violence started in the border state in early 1990s.

Sunday’s violation comes after four months. The last such incident took place on April 10, again in the Poonch sector.

Earlier, Pakistan violated the ceasefire on September 18, 2015 in Balakote sector of Poonch district. Last year, 16 civilians were killed and 71 injured in 405 incidents of cross-border firing by Pakistan, the officer said.

While 253 ceasefire violations took place along the international border (IB), 152 incidents were reported along the LoC, he said.

Around 8,000 people had to be moved to safer locations from their homes as the two sides had exchanged fire.

The two sides had agreed to a ceasefire in 2003.

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