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India deliberately targeting civilians at LOC; FO briefs UN members

Islamabad: The Foreign Secretary on Friday expressed concern over the deliberate targeting of villages and populated areas by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary in a briefing given to the heads of missions of the permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
During the briefing to the head of missions, the Foreign Secretary also expressed concern over the increase in frequency and intensity of Indian shelling and firing which has led to the death of at least 26 civilians, said the spokesperson for the Foreign Office in a statement.
The FO statement also added that the heads of missions were made aware of the use of heavy artillery, employed by Indian forces on November 9 in the sectors of Shahkot and Jura along the LoC.
Heavy artillery has been used by the Indian armed forces on the disputed border after a gap of 13 years.
Referring to the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), the Foreign Secretary reiterated that Pakistan if fully cooperating and providing unrestricted access to the observer mission, however, India has limited the group’s access and is not cooperating.
The heads of mission assured Pakistan that they would convey the concerns to their respective capitals and underscored the need for restraint, observance of ceasefire and dialogue to resolve issues.
The UNSC representatives were informed that the Pakistani armed forces gave a “befitting reply to Indian aggression”.
A briefing over the ceasefire violations was also given by a representative of the Military Operations Directorate.
The latest developments come as tensions simmer between New Delhi and Islamabad over the Kashmir issue and as the past few days have seen incidents of cross-border firing.
Ties between the two countries have deteriorated further as the Indian prime minister stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the Uri army base attack in September.
Hours after the attack occurred, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’ and accused Pakistan of involvement.
The Uri attack occurred days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was set to address the United Nations General Assembly regarding Indian human rights violations in held Kashmir.
Following the attack, India claimed it conducted a cross-border ‘surgical strike’ against ‘launch pads of terror’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan has strongly rejected.
Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world’s attention away from atrocities committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.
Pakistan and India recently locked horns over the Kashmir issue when Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces in July.



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