Pakistan summons top Indian diplomat over Kashmir border violence

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s Foreign Office has summoned a senior Indian diplomat to protest against the killing of a civilian in Pakistan-administered Kashmir by Indian shelling, according to a statement, as ongoing violence killed at least four more civilians on Friday.

The four civilians were killed and 22 others wounded in the Neelum Valley region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a Pakistani civil administration official told Al Jazeera.

“Deaths and damage are being reported from across the Neelum Valley,” said Safeer Butt, the official.

Local officials reported that firing was ongoing in several areas of Kashmir on Friday afternoon.

The Indian diplomat was summoned to the foreign ministry in the Pakistani capital Islamabad to “underscore[e] that such senseless acts are in clear violation of the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding, and against all established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct” on Friday, the statement said.

According to Indian media, at least seven people were killed, including four soldiers, in Pakistan shelling across the LoC in Kashmir on Friday.

In a major flare-up along the Line of Control, seven people including four soldiers were killed in ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in several areas in north Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.

A day earlier, at least one Pakistani civilian, 55-year-old Muhammad Bashir was killed due to Indian shelling the Rakhchikhri sector of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, about 80km (50 miles) southeast of the regional capital Muzaffarabad.

Three other civilians were wounded in Indian shelling in the village of Samni, roughly 150km (93 miles per hour) southeast of Muzaffarabad, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.

Intense shelling and firing was ongoing across the Line of Control (LoC), which divides Pakistan-administered and Indian-administered Kashmir, continued on Friday, reports said.

A ceasefire has been in effect across the length of the LoC since 2003, but it is frequently violated by both India and Pakistan, with each routinely blaming the other for initiating hostilities.

Both countries claim the disputed mountainous territory of Kashmir in full, but administer separate portions of it. They have fought two of their three wars over the region since gaining independence from the British in 1947.

According to Pakistan’s foreign ministry, the ceasefire has been violated by India at least 2,729 times this year, resulting in 21 civilian deaths and serious injuries to 206 others.