India cross-border firing kills six Pakistani civilians

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The Pakistani military Friday said six people have been killed and over two dozen wounded in firing by Indian troops, in the latest cross-border violence between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

The incident occurred within the last 24 hours near the frontier dividing Indian-held Kashmir from Pakistan’s Punjab province, known as the working boundary, Pakistani officials said.

“Indian brutality on World Peace Day martyred 6 innocent Pakistanis, injured 26 along the working boundary in Chappar/Harpal/Charwa Sector,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, spokesman for the country’s armed forces, said on Twitter.

The violence coincided with a war of words between the arch rivals at the United Nations in New York.

During a speech to the general assembly earlier this week Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi accused India of unleashing “massive and indiscriminate force” in the disputed region of Kashmir and called for an international investigation.

India fired back at the remarks and accused Islamabad of harbouring militants, labelling the country “terroristan”.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in full.

Later, the Pakistani army said the military commanders of the two countries had made contact on a special hotline to discuss the issue.

“Issue of deliberate targeting of Pakistani civilians, residing in the vicinity of the working boundary was raised by DGMO (Director General Military Operations) Pakistan Army,” a statement by the military said.

“Indian DGMO was conveyed unflinching resolve of Pakistan Army to ensure the security of its population and it shall continue to take all necessary measures to deter any such aggression in future.”

The neighbours regularly exchange mortar fire across the border despite signing a ceasefire in 2003.

However, incidents inside Punjab are rare.

Tensions reached dangerous levels last September, with both sides blaming one another for cross-border raids.

There have since been repeated outbreaks of firing across the frontier, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including two civilians.

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