India lodges protest with Pakistan after ceasefire violation kills youth in Poonch

India lodges protest with Pakistan after ceasefire violation kills youth in Poonch

India and Pakistan continue to accuse each other of ceasefire violations even as they battle the Covid-19 challenge at home.

Representational image | Indian soldiers at the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir | PTI

Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir | Representational image | PTI

New Delhi: India Friday lodged “protest” with Pakistan over the killing of an Indian near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district during a ceasefire violation.

“India registered a protest with Pakistan at the killing of an innocent Indian national in unprovoked firing by Pakistan forces,” a government source said, adding that a note verbale was issued to the acting High Commissioner of Pakistan in India Syed Haider Shah.

The protest follows the death of a youth — Gulfraz Ahmed — after the Pakistan army reportedly resorted to mortar shelling in the Poonch district Thursday. One person was injured in the shelling as well.

Indian troops are believed to have retaliated to the shelling, which led to a heavy exchange of fire.

A day earlier, on 29 April, Pakistan had alleged a ceasefire violation by India, saying it had resulted in the killing of a Pakistani soldier and two civilians. Pakistan had then summoned the Indian Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad Thursday. 

Earlier this week, Pakistan’s foreign ministry had called India’s allegations of ceasefire violations “baseless”, accusing New Delhi of repeatedly targeting “innocent civilians living close to the LoC”.

“In 2020 alone, India has committed 919 ceasefire violations and deliberately targeted innocent civilians living close to the LoC in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir with artillery fire, heavy-calibre mortars and automatic weapons,” the Pakistani Foreign Office had said.

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Tough relations continue

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has emerged as the biggest challenge in decades for countries around the world, India and Pakistan continue to engage in a bitter exchange of fire at the LoC.

Both countries have also locked horns over the creation of the SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund, which was formed after a video conference among South Asian leaders last month.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi got the common Covid-19 pool established by contributing $10 million, Islamabad said on 10 April that its contribution of $3 million should be administered by the SAARC Secretariat. 

The modalities for the fund’s utilisation, it added, should be finalised through consultations with member states in keeping with the SAARC charter.

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