Pakistan-India clash: Border shelling claimed 17 lives since Monday, all civilians

Line of Control (LoC)

ISLAMABAD: Fresh reports of ten more Pakistani civilians’ death during this week, resulting off the ongoing crossfire, said the military Thursday. The death toll rises to total 17 people killed during the Pakistan-India clashes on the disputed border dividing the two nuclear armed rivals.

Earlier it was reported that twelve people were killed, five on Pakistani side and seven from Indian side in the bombings, not only on the disputed Kashmir region but also in the Pakistani province of Punjab.

Kashmir is divided between the two states that have engaged two wars for control in 1947 and 1965 before a cease-fire and the Line of Control (LoC), a de facto border.

In 1999, the Kargil conflict also opposed the two armies on glaciers, along their border in Kashmir. Both countries return this week the responsibility of the new clashes along their common border Thursday, the Indian Minister of Defence, Arun Jaitley, urged Pakistan to stop firing against Indian positions in Kashmir.

If Pakistan persists in its adventurism, our forces will make the cost of this unaffordable adventurism, he told reporters in New Delhi.

Pakistan must stop the bombing and the shooting unjustified if he wants peace on its border, the minister added. Pakistani army meanwhile said Thursday in a statement that they always replied to Indian violations of the ceasefire.

Meanwhile Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said Thursday that his country does not want confrontation with India.

Pakistan is capable of responding to “any Indian aggression,” he said a few hours after his Indian counterpart had described the cost as “adventurism” of Pakistan as “unaffordable”.

But “we do not want to turn the tension on the border between the two nuclear neighbors in a confrontation,” said the Pakistani minister said in a statement, while calling on India to act responsibly.

According to Pakistani officials, bombings in the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistanis, killing 12 civilians and wounding 42 others.

“Any attacks from the Line of Control or the border encounter an effective response,” they said.

Another senior defense official in Pakistan said that Pakistan continues, “The strategy of patience and silence.”

“Being a nuclear state, Pakistan wants peace and tranquility in the region. But India should not misinterpret this as a weakness,” suggested the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal.

A PEACE PROCESS IN PROGRESS SINCE 2004

Thousands of people fled their homes on both sides of the border and nine civilians were killed Monday, the deadliest day for civilians for more than ten years.

Kashmir is divided between the two states competed twice for the control of the region in 1947 and 1971, before a cease-fire and a line of control since 1972 1989, fighting between the army and a dozen Indian separatist groups or pro-Pakistanis have tens of thousands of dead, mostly civilians. Violence has ebbed since 2004 and the beginning of a peace process.

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