July 09, 2017

Indian aggression across LoC

Four women among five martyred in Indian shelling on AJK; two killed in IHK; Indian diplomat summoned; PM asks world not to condone Indian HR abuses; COAS says sacrifices of Wani, generations testimony of their resolve; protests in IHK, AJK

ISLAMABAD/MUZAFFARABAD/HELD SRINAGAR: Four women among five civilians were martyred and 13 others sustained severe bullet injuries in unprovoked firing and shelling by Indian troops at Abbaspur, Nakiyal, Chirikot and Satwal sectors along Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday.

According to Deputy Commissioner Poonch Raja Tahir Mumtaz, Indian forces opened firing and mortar shelling in four Pakistani sectors of Azad Kashmir, martyring five citizens, including four women, and injuring 10 others.

AJK President Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider termed the Indian firing as a violation of LoC and human rights.

At least two civilians, including a girl, embraced Shahadat while three others sustained injuries following unprovoked firing of Indian troops in Chirikot and Satwal sectors.

"Indian Army undertook unprovoked firing including heavy weapons and mortars along the LoC in Chirikot and Satwal sectors. The Pakistan Army troops effectively responded to Indian unprovoked firing," the Inter Services Public Relations said.

Seven people were killed in Kashmir in cross-border shelling by both Pakistan and India, officials on both sides of the LoC said, as the first martyrdom anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani raised tensions in the disputed region.

Pakistan´s government said it summoned India´s Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh over "unprovoked ceasefire violations.”

The violence occurred as hundreds of people including political activists took to the streets in Azad Kashmir to commemorate the death of Burhan Wani. A Reuters witness saw protesters holding Pakistani flags and banners and shouting slogans lauding the sacrifice of Burhan Wani and others, while pledging to carry on the holy war in IHK.

"Jihad is our path, freedom is our destination," they shouted while holding up portraits of Burhan Wani. In IHK, another Reuters witness saw demonstrators wearing face masks throwing stones at police in downtown Srinagar. Police retaliated with teargas and stones thrown using slingshots.

The Indian army´s defence spokesman said two civilians were killed in IHK and two injured due to shelling by Pakistani troops.

United Jihad Council leader Syed Salahuddin called for a strike on Saturday to mark Burhan Wani´s martyrdom anniversary and led a protest in Muzaffarabad.

Syed Salahuddin´s United Jihad Council vowed to continue its struggle to liberate Kashmir and called upon Islamabad to support their efforts "militarily." "Diplomatic, moral and political support will not work anymore," he said, addressing a large crowd gathered in an open space in Muzaffarabad. He said a tripartite dialogue between India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris to resolve the dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions would be welcomed.

Meanwhile, thousands of troops fanned out across IHK, where authorities imposed a widespread curfew and cut off all internet services after separatist leaders called for a week of demonstrations.

Separatist leaders -- most of whom were either detained or confined to their homes in the run-up to the anniversary -- had called for a week of protests from Saturday to mark Burhan Wani´s martyrdom anniversary. All roads leading to Burhan Wani’s home town of Tral in south Kashmir have been closed and authorities have seized thousands of motorbikes to prevent people travelling between villages in the area.

Witnesses and police said clashes broke out when protesters tried to reach the family home on Saturday morning and were blocked by Indian security forces. Police fired teargas canisters when protesters threw rocks at them -- an increasingly common tactic in the region.

Burhan Wani´s father said there was a huge military presence outside the family home. "There were so many soldiers outside I couldn´t go out. It wasn´t possible for me to visit my son´s grave today," Muzzafar Wani said by phone.

Around a dozen protesters were injured, one of them critically, when Indian troops fired pellet guns into a crowd of protesters in the town of Shopian in IHK. The crowd became angry when troops entered a mosque to remove a sound system.

The streets of Srinagar were deserted on Saturday, with all shops and businesses closed. One senior police official said authorities had not ordered an official curfew in the city, but had invoked a colonial-era law that bans assembly of more than four people and is often used to prevent rioting.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Saturday reiterated Pakistan's moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris in IHK and called upon the international community to honour its commitment for early resolution of the issue. “His (Burhan Wani’s) Shahadat made the international community and world powers that they could no longer condone the grave human rights violations by the Indian occupation forces,” the PM Office media wing in a press release quoted the prime minister as saying.

In a message on the martyrdom anniversary of Burhan Wani, the prime minister said through his sacrifice, Wani had reminded the world that if such a large-scale human rights violation including blinding of innocent Kashmiris with horrible firing of pellets, continued unabated in the occupied valley, peace could not be guaranteed in the world.

The prime minister said if India failed to stop its atrocities in the occupied valley, a movement in support of Kashmiris and against such oppression was imminent on her soil as human nature could not accept such gross repressions.

He said Wani's sacrifice also posed a question; whether Kashmiris were not human beings or did not enjoy basic human rights! Whether they (Kashmiris) were not entitled to exercise their right to self-determination which was ensured by the UN Charter?

The prime minister cautioned if such discrimination with the UN's resolutions was not stopped, it would affect stature of the world body. He noted that Burhan Wani had written a new chapter of Kashmir freedom movement, lighting a candle with his blood which made the whole occupied valley to glow. “His martyrdom also proved that every child in Kashmir was fully charged with the desire for freedom and did not accept the illegal occupation by India,” the prime minister said, adding that through the use of force and weapons, the passion for freedom could not be subdued.

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said the Kashmiris have must be given right to self-determination.

In a Twitter message, the COAS said that the sacrifices of Burhan Wani and generations against Indian atrocities are a testimony of their resolve.

“Kashmiris have the right to self-determination,” tweeted Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor quoting the COAS on the first death anniversary of Burhan Wani.


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