Pak summons India’s envoy; Nowshera schools to close for 3 days

Pak summons India’s envoy; Nowshera schools to close for 3 days

Islamabad/Srinagar: While Pakistan on Thursday summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh over alleged “ceasefire violations” along the Line of Control (LoC) that resulted in the killing of a civilian, schools in Nowshera sector in Rajouri district remained closed for the second day running, a day after ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
Director General (South Asia and SAARC) Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned Singh and “condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations” by the Indian forces, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.
It claimed that a 55-year-old man was killed in Kotera Sector on August 29 in alleged firing by Indian forces.
“Despite calls for restraint, India continues to indulge in ceasefire violations,” it said.
“The deliberate targeting of civilians is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws,” the Foreign Office said.
On Wednesday, however, Pakistani troops had resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing and shelling from across the border in Nowshera sector, targeting forward posts and civilian areas.
Indian troops guarding the LoC fired in retaliation, and the heavy exchange between the two sides continued for almost two hours.
No loss of life was reported in the Pakistani shelling, but school managements decided to close educational institutions and asked students to return to their homes.
The Pakistan Foreign Office, however, on Thursday accused India of committing more than 700 ceasefire violations this year, resulting in the killing of 29 Pakistani civilians.
Director General Faisal urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement, to investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations and to instruct Indian forces to respect the ceasefire in letter and spirit and maintain peace along the LoC.
He also called on the Indian side to allow the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.
India maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.
Meanwhile, the Nowshera district administration decided to close all 67 schools along the LoC in the sector – the worst affected in cross-border shelling – as a precautionary measure for the safety of students.
“Schools along LoC in Nowshera will remain closed for next three days in view of fresh ceasefire violation yesterday,” District Development Commissioner, Rajouri, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said
It would also cover the holiday for Eid-ul-Azha on Saturday.
Choudhary also said the project to build 100 underground bunkers for the protection of civilians from Pakistani firing and shelling in the sector was in progress.
As many as 35 such bunkers are nearing completion with the help of the local people, he said.