Sharif warns against ''Indian aggression''
Seven Pakistan army personnel were killed in “continuous unprovoked” Indian shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) late on Sunday, officials said on Monday.
The killings took place in the southernmost Bhimber district of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) "in ceasefire violation by Indian troops late Sunday night," said Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), army’s media affairs wing, in a statement.
"Pakistani troops while responding to the unprovoked Indian firing targeted Indian posts effectively," it added.
Four of the deceased soldiers belonged to PaK and the rest to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
They were identified as Havildar Zafar Hussain, (resident of Murree, Punjab), Havildar Ibrar Ahmed Awan, (resident of Muzaffarabad, PaK), Lance Naik Muhammad Shoukat (resident Forward Kahuta, PaK), Lance Naik Muhammad Haleem (resident of Lakki Marwat, KP), sepoy Pervez (resident of Athmuqam, PaK), sepoy Muhammad Ilyas (resident of Talagang, Punjab) and sepoy Muhammad Tanweer (resident of Samahni PaK).
Their funeral prayers were offered in Jhelum, and attended among others by COAS Gen Raheel Sharif, following which the bodies were dispatched to the native areas for burial with full military honours.
At a briefing on LoC situation after the funerals, the army chief reiterated the determination by saying, “We will continue to respond effectively and leave no stone unturned to defend the motherland.”
In Islamabad, the Foreign Office (FO) summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale on Monday to lodge a protest against the killing of Pakistani soldiers.
The FO Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said India must stop all ceasefire violations and avoid targeting residents along the LoC.
"We reserve the right to respond befittingly respond to Indian aggression," he said.
The FO also delivered a letter of protest to India.
Earlier, in a tweet, the FO spokesperson condemned the “continuous unprovoked” ceasefire violations by India.
"Pakistan army responding in befitting manner. We salute our valiant soldiers who render ultimate sacrifices for national cause," he added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, PaK President Sardar Masood Khan, PaK PM Raja Farooq Haider also condemned “unprovoked” Indian shelling and expressed profound grief and sorrow over the loss of precious human lives in the latest incident of cross-border firing.
Sharif reiterated Pakistan’s ability to defend itself against any aggression.
"We are fully capable of defending our soil against any aggression. The Indian forces have resorted to escalating tension on LoC only to detract the world’s attention from the grave human rights situation in the Indian-held Kashmir," he said.
The premier said that Indian forces had inflicted ‘unspeakable atrocities’ against the unarmed and innocent people of held Kashmir.
"There is an indigenous uprising against Indian occupation, and the Indian government is failing to read the writing on the wall,” he said, adding, by creating tension at LoC, the Indian forces were uselessly trying to divert the attention from the Kashmir issue.
Sunday’s incident was a major loss of Pakistan army in a single day along the LoC ever since tensions escalated between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan in the wake of attack on an Indian army installation in Uri in September 18.
On September 29, Pakistan had said that its two soldiers were killed and nine injured in Indian shelling from across the LoC.