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The News International, Thursday, June 13, 2002
100 Pakistani civilians died of Indian shelling in one month

MUZAFFARABAD: A 47-year-old woman became the 100th victim of Indian mortar attacks on Azad Kashmir in less than a month, officials said on Wednesday.

The woman killed in heavy shelling of the Tatta Pani sector in the southern district of Kotli was the 100th person to die in Azad Kashmir border areas since May 15. A man was also injured in Tatta Pani, which came under heavy fire mid-morning with the bombardment escalating around noon.

Indian forces also shelled Mandhol, Tai, Darra Sher Khan and other villages in the Hajira sector of Poonch, another southern district during the day, police said. A farmer was injured in the village of Batal in the Hajira sector and another person was injured in Poonch's Khuiratta sector, they said. "Indian troops are using heavy weapons," an officer told AFP from Poonch police headquarters in Rawalakot.

"Overnight shelling occurred in almost all sectors of Kotli district. But there were no major losses, except damage to some shops in Tatta Pani," the official said. Shelling continued through the night in Bhimbher, the southernmost district, but stopped at dawn. "The guns have fallen silent since morning. There is peace," said an administration official. Thousands of people have fled from forward locations in the Samahni and Chamb sectors of Bhimber district and have taken shelter in safer areas.

Meanwhile, two people were injured as Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged fire along the Line of Control overnight, police said on Wednesday. A police spokesman said the shelling across the LoC was less intense than in recent days. "Shelling continued overnight in eight regions along the international borders," the spokesman said and added "But the intensity was less compared to the previous days."

He said both sides fired artillery and mortar shells across the LoC. "Five Indian sectors were targeted by Pakistani soldiers in the Poonch and Rajouri," the spokesman said. "Four houses in Sari village in Rajouri region were destroyed and two civilians were injured."


The News International, Monday, June 10, 2002
Five civilians killed in Indian shelling

SIALKOT: The intensified Indian mortar shelling on Sunday claimed the lives of five Pakistani civilians, three of whom belonged to villages along the Sialkot's working boundary and two to Azad Kashmir. Retaliatory fire by Pakistani forces killed four Indian soldiers.

According to official sources, the Indian shelling on Silakot sector started at 5:30 am and continued the whole day. As a result, three villagers were martyred and six others seriously injured. The sources said Indian security forces fired more than 200 small and medium-sized mortar shells on border villages Charwa, Abiyaal Dogar, Kahliyaan and Theekariyal, killing Noorul Islam (in Charwa sector), Mohammed Din (in Narowal-Shakargarh sector) and a minor child Aslam (in Bajwat sector) and injuring six others including Bilal, Ahmad, Mohammed Aslam, Fazale Haq and Mohammed Aslam Faiz. The injured were admitted to CMH Sialkot in critical condition.

The Indian security forces re-targetted the civilian population as well as their properties and continued mortar shelling on Pakistani border villages in Chhumb Joriyaan, Bajwat, Bajragarhi, Harpal, Charwa, Chaprar, Sucheetgarh, Jammu, Akhnoor, Saamba, Zafarwal and Shakargarh-Narowal sectors, damaging 17 more houses and killing 13 cattleheads. Due to the heavy shelling, the traffic on Sialkot-Kingra-Merajkey Road and Sialkot-Charwa Road remained suspended the whole day.

The official sources confirmed that the Pakistan security forces responded immediately and effectively, killing four Indian soldiers and destroying three Indian posts, six frontline bunkers and two big defensive pillars.

Meanwhile, two civilians, including a woman, were killed and two girls were injured as a result of unprovoked firing by Indian forces from across the LoC in Nakyal and Bandala villages of Samahni sector of Azad Kashmir.

According to official sources, Tanveer and Neelam Akhtar were respectively killed in Bandala village of Samahni sector and Pilani village of Nakyal sector. Two girls were also seriously injured in Pilani village and admitted to a nearby hospital.

Firing is also continuing in Satwal and Chatra villages of Rawalkot in Samahni sector and in Bhimber district. Local administration chief Fayyaz Abbasi told AFP that thousands of people have fled from forward positions in Samahni and its adjoining Chamb sector to safer areas. "Shelling is continuing in Samahni sector intermittently, but Chamb sector is generally quiet," Abbasi said. A police official from southern Poonch district said shelling had also resumed in Abbaspur sector.


The News International, Sunday, June 09, 2002
Six civilians killed in Indian shelling

SIALKOT: Six civilians, including four from one family, were killed and four others wounded in Indian shelling in the Sialkot sector, officials and witnesses said on Saturday.

Mirza Mohammad, a resident, said the firing started around 6:30 am and intensified throughout the morning. Indian shells fell on several villages including one that killed the four family members, he said.

Besides, seven people were injured by Indian artillery attacks on border villages in Azad Kashmir. Retaliation by Pakistan troops resulted in the deaths of three Indian soldiers. "Indian troops using long-range weapons fired over a dozen shells in and around Dakhari Kot at about 4:00 pm," police officer Raja Abdur Razzaq told AFP from the city of Kotli. The village on the left bank of the Poonch river is about a mile outside the southern city of Kotli, he said.

"One of the shells landed inside a mud house, injuring four residents -- an aged woman and two young women and a three-year-old girl," Razzaq said. Two of the injured women were in a critical condition. They had recently evacuated from Mandhol village in Hajira sector in the neighbouring Poonch district to escape Indian shelling there, the officer said.

Witnesses said the shelling caused much panic in Kotli, where shopkeepers pulled down their shutters leaving markets deserted. "The bazaar is deserted as almost all shops have been closed," shopkeeper Masood Qasim, 27, told AFP by telephone. "Only the medical stores are open."

Residents and officials said that the city had been observing an overnight blackout -- in case of attack by Indian fighter planes -- for the past week. Fayyaz Ahmed, a homeopath in Kotli's Thalair Colony area, said that the residents had seen shells falling on Dakhari Kot village across the Poonch river in which a man and a woman were injured.

Earlier, India said one woman was killed and three people were wounded by fire from Pakistani troops. Indian police said the villagers were caught in heavy machinegun fire from Pakistani troops near the town of Arnia.


The News International, Friday, June 07, 2002
25 Indian troops, 6 Pak civilians killed in LoC fire

By our correspondent

MUZAFFARABAD: At least six people were Thursday killed and over a dozen injured in Indian shelling into different sectors of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

According to sources, intense shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) continued in Rawalakot, Kotli, Bhimber and Forward Khutta areas of AJK, causing loss of life and injuries besides extensive material damage.

Two sisters, Mareen and Shaista Bibi, died when a mortar shell fired from across the LoC exploded in the compound of their house at village Dhroti in Abbaspur sector of district Rawalakot.

Another three people died in indiscriminate shelling by Indian troops at village Mahjan of Nakyal sector in the southern Kotli district. The victims were identified as Muhammad Shafiq, Haq Nawaz and Ashfaq.

Three other civilians including a woman were wounded in the same village. A young girl, Nasreen, was killed in Khoiratta sector of district Kotli where four members of a family sustained injuries. They were identified as Rasib, Abid, Abdul Shakoor and Kulsoom.

In Dana, district Bhimber, Muhammad Aslam, Rehana, Kausar and Sajid were wounded. Mir Muhammad, 35, was wounded in village Shera of district Rawalakot, while two others were wounded in forward Khutta area of district Bagh.

Five civilians were injured in villages near Sialkot city after Indian forces shelled the area, an army official said. NNI adds: Twenty-five Indian Army troops were killed and many suffered injuries and material losses when Pakistani troops responded to the Indian shelling.

Seven bunkers and two gun positions of the enemy were completely destroyed in the retaliatory fire. Meanwhile, Brigadier Iftikhar Khan has said the Pakistan Army has tightened security along the LoC to strictly check any crossing to the other side.

Briefing US, Germany, UAE and Pakistani journalists at Hatyan Bala Thursday, he said: "We have enhanced patrolling at the Line of Control to stop any crossing from this part of Kashmir and the general public has been directed not to try to cross the LoC."

He briefed the journalists that the Pak Army was fully ready to thwart any movement of the enemy to cross the Line of Control. He said the Indian forces fired 29484 mortars in the past five months. They martyred 50 civilians and injured 189 and also destroyed hundreds of houses including mosques.

While Pak army never targeted civilian population while retaliating the unprovoked firing of the enemy "as the civilians living on other side of the LoC are also Muslims and we take care of our response to the enemy's guns".


The News International, Thursday, June 06, 2002
Another civilian dies in Indian shelling

MUZAFFARABAD: At least one person was martyred in Abasspur sector in Poonch district of Azad Kashmir and five others sustained injuries in indiscriminate Indian firing and shelling during last 12 hours in different sectors of LoC.

According to police, one person identified as Muhammad Sidique s/o Shukurdin embraced martyrdom in Abasspur sector by Indian shelling and five others received injuries. Khurshid Ahmed and Zameen Bibi were critically injured in Samahani sector while two persons of Batal village (Tehsil Hajeerah) and one of Phala Nagar village (Bagh district) were also injured.

Officials said that Indian forces used both artillery including mortar guns and light machineguns and damaged several residential houses. Pakistan Army swiftly responded to the firing and targeted their bunkers and other army installations.

And, along the Working Boundary in Sialkot, troops from the two countries exchanged heavy mortar and machinegun fire, causing people in the area to flee to relief centres set up by the government in Sialkot city.

"There are no casualties, but our houses are being destroyed," a resident of Pondran village said. "Many houses, stored with large quantities of hay after the recent wheat harvest, caught fire in our village when hit by Indian mortar bombs overnight."

Meanwhile, an Indian defence official said that the two armies traded fire from armoured vehicles across the LoC, the first such exchange in their tense frontier stand-off. "This is the first time in recent skirmishes armoured fire has been used," he said, adding that there were no details of the type of vehicles or calibre of weapons involved.

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials said exchanges of fire continued along the LoC on Wednesday but the intensity of the barrage had decreased. Indian shelling was reported only from Samahni sector in the southernmost Bhimbher district, but the tense LoC was generally calm, they said.

Normally the Indian forces begin shelling in the early morning and continue intermittently until late into the evening, officials and residents said. "There is fire in Samahni sector but its intensity is low," an administration officials told AFP. He said there were no casualties reported and that Samahni's adjoining Chamb sector was also silent, a day after the regional conference in Kazakhstan where intense diplomatic efforts were made to avert an all-out war between the nuclear rivals. Chamb and Samahni sectors have witnessed indiscriminate shelling in the past two weeks, forcing thousands of people to flee to safer places.

"There is sporadic fire in Khuiratta in southern Kotli district, but overall the situation is calm today," a police spokesman from the area said. Officials said no shelling had been reported early on Wednesday from the districts of Bagh, Poonch and Muzaffarabad, in contrast to the usual firing pattern. The officials gave no reason for the respite and said it could be a temporary phase.


The News International, Sunday, June 02, 2002, (Updated at 2100 PST)
3 killed by Indian shelling of Azad Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD: Three people were killed and at least nine others were injured as India shelled border villages in Azad Kashmir on Sunday, police said.

Most of the casualties were in Khuiratta sector in the southern Kotli district, police said.

Indian troops killed two men and injured nine others, including two women, in an attack on a market and a residential area in the border village of Inderla Kotehra.


The News International, Sunday, June 02, 2002
Blackout in AJK as Indian shelling kills three more

MUZAFFARABAD: An overnight power blackout has been imposed in Azad Kashmir as the civilian death toll from Indian shelling continues to mount.

"This was a civil defence drill," Muzaffarabad deputy commissioner Mahmoodul Hassan Raja told AFP on Saturday. "We must be prepared to meet any situation," he said as he chaired a meeting to review civil defence arrangements in the wake of "Indian threats to launch war" on Azad Kashmir.

Power was cut to the districts of Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Kotli and Bhimbher late Friday, sparking fears of air raids in the Pakistani zone. Electricity was restored early Saturday, and witnesses said.

Meanwhile, three people were killed and several wounded in Azad Kashmir by Indian firing across the Line of Kashmir, officials said. They said that Nargis Bibi (18) was killed in fresh shelling by the Indian army which also left critically injured two sisters, Nousheen Bibi (10) and Aisha (3), in village Palaie Chahi in Samani sector in Bhimbher district.

In Kotli district, Rubina Bibi (29) died after she was hit by the splinter of the mortar shells in village Balakot in Nikayal sector. The Indian army targeted the areas of Bhera, Katrah, Sohana, Kadmai, Dara Haripur and Khoi Rata sector, resulting in the killing of Ibrar (8) while Suryia (3) received serious injuries.

According to reports, some private properties were also damaged in the unabated mortar shelling by the Indian army on villages of Palaie Chahi in Samani sector and Balakot in Nikayal sector. A house and a jeep were also destroyed in Rajdani. Indian army fired more than two hundred shells into these areas.

A man was killed and three other people were injured as Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged heavy shelling in held Poonch, police said. Overnight a woman was seriously injured when Pakistani troops targeted new areas in southern Kashmir.


The News International, Thursday, May 30, 2002
13 killed in Indian shelling

MUZAFFARABAD: Thirteen people have been killed and 14 injured as Indian shells rained down on towns and villages in eastern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir on Wednesday, police and residents said.

The toll included five people killed and eight wounded by overnight Indian shelling in the village of Bajra Garh in Sialkot. "A woman and her three daughters were killed when a shell destroyed their house," police officer Sarwar Ali told AFP, adding that fourth daughter was seriously wounded. A man was killed and seven others were injured in the same village, he said and added the Indian troops were firing from Jammu district in held Kashmir.

Another five people were killed and three injured late on Wednesday as Indians bombed a market in Azad Kashmir. Police officer Raja Ghulam Sarwar said: "The shells hit the town of Hajira in the southern Poonch district at 7:45 pm." A resident told AFP that one of the shells landed on a jeep parked at the market, killing both the driver and a passenger. Three more were killed and three injured by further shelling, shopkeeper Mohammad Rashid said.

Hajira is at least 16 kilometres from the Line of Control. Rashid said it was the first time in at least five years that any shells had hit the town. Two more deaths were reported late on Wednesday also in Hajira sector, in the village of Barra Sher Khan.

Police said a 12-year-old girl and a 22-year-old man were killed by Indian shelling. Officials also expected casualties in the neighbouring district of Bagh where "heavy" shelling had started at 6:30 pm in forward Jahuda sector in the district of Gan.

Wednesday's deaths bring to 62 the number of people killed on the Pakistani side since artillery duels began this month. Meanwhile, an Indian defence spokesman said seven people, including an Indian soldier, were killed and 30 injured as Pakistani artillery pounded the Poonch region of held Kashmir. Hospital sources said three of the six people, who were critically injured in the shelling, had died.

The spokesman said the Poonch region, some 240 kilometres from held Jammu, was being heavily shelled. Seven villagers were also feared killed in another attack elsewhere in Poonch, other officials said. "Three military posts of the Indian army came under artillery shelling in the Poonch region," a police official said. One Indian soldier was critically injured at the frontier post of Arnia. In New Delhi, defence ministry officials claimed that Pakistani gunners had switched from mortars to artillery to pound positions in held Kashmir. Overnight, an Indian soldier was killed in shelling in the Kargil region, a defence spokesman said.


The News International, Wednesday, May 29, 2002, (Updated at 1230 PST)
6 die in Indian mortar fire at Working Boundary

SIALKOT: Six people were killed and 20 wounded as Indian troops opened heavy fire across the border in Punjab, reports said on Wednesday.

Reports quoting police and military sources said the two sides also exchanged heavy fire in Samani sector in Azad Kashmir but there were no reports of casualties.


The News International, Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Two dead as Indian troops shell AJK

MUZAFFARABAD: Indian troops on Tuesday shelled villages in Azad Kashmir, killing two people and injuring at least eight others, officials said.

The deaths were reported in the town of Samahni, about 5 km from the Line of Control. Bhimbher district deputy commissioner Fayyaz Abbasi said that two men were killed by shrapnel from shells that landed in different parts of the town. "Five others, including a woman, were also injured," he said, adding that another shell landed within the premises of the town hospital but no one was hurt.

Due to the shelling the power supply to Samahni was suspended, shutting down telecommunication links. "In the absence of communication links, we are facing difficulties in gathering information on the losses caused by unprovoked Indian shelling," Abbasi said.

The local official said that the shelling was intense, and that enemy troops were targeting civilian population.In the district of Kotli, where heavy shelling started in the morning in Khuiratta and Charoi sectors, three people were injured, said police officer Raja Ghulam Sarwar. Several houses were also damaged in the area in the cross border shelling, he added.

The LoC remained calm after two weeks of intense shelling following President Pervez Musharraf's pledge not to initiate a war, police in held Jammu said on Tuesday. "There is calm on the borders after the speech," Amjed Mirza, a senior police official of border district Kathura, 85 km south of held Jammu, told AFP. "Though there is some light firing, the intensity of shelling has reduced considerably compared to the previous days," he said.

Police said about 60,000 villagers living near the borders have migrated to neighbouring districts. "The migration is continuing. In Kathura district alone about 15,000 villagers have moved out," Mirza said.


The News International, Tuesday, May 28, 2002
17 civilians killed in Indian shelling

By our correspondent

SIALKOT: As many as 14 civilians were martyred and forty others injured as Pakistani villagers living in the Sialkot Working Border area braved the worst Indian firing and shelling during the evenings of Saturday and Sunday. Ten Indian troops were also killed in retaliation by the Chenab Rangers. Besides, three people were killed in Indian shelling of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) in the two days.

Eight persons, including three women and a minor girl, were killed and 22 were injured in Indian shelling late on Saturday. Mother Allah Rakhi, 70, wife Safia Bibi, 35, and daughter Sumbal, 8, of Muhammad Hafeez were killed as an Indian mortar shell hit their house at Rangpur Jattan in the Chaprar Sector of the Working Boundary.

Two Indian mortar shells struck the house of a primary school teacher, Bashir Ahmad, at village Juian in the Sujeetgarh Sector of the Working boundary. Bashir, 40, his mother Hasan Bibi, 65, and two sons Muhammad Waqas, 15, and Muhammad Abbas, 10, were killed instantly. A peasant Naseer Ahmad, 37, of the Juian village was also instantly killed by the shelling while he was passing through a street.

Residents of Umranwai village, where 12 people were injured by Indian fire, said a Majlis-e-Aza was in progress when Indian troops started shelling and firing the hapless civilians late on Saturday. More than hundred houses were completely destroyed in Umranwali, Juian, Rangpur Jattan and Charwa villages by heavy Indian shelling. Dozens of cattle head were also killed in the same villages.

Indian army continued firing artillery and mortar shells on the civilians across the Working Border area on Sunday evening killing six persons, including three women and two children, besides wounding eight people. Muhammad Akmal, 28, Kulsoom Bibi, 30, and her six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son were martyred in village Thathi Kalan in the Chaprar Sector. Atia Kausar, 14, and Sardaran Bibi, 45, were martyred and the daughter-in-law and daughter of the latter were wounded in village Charwa in the Charwa Sector.

The injured were shifted to the Combined Military Hospital as well as others, and an emergency has been declared in all the Sialkot hospitals. The martyred were laid to rest in Jhai, Bhattey Kalan and other villages in the presence of thousands of mourners on Sunday and Monday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Army and Chenab rangers retaliated the Indian shelling on Saturday and Sunday nights in the Chaprar, Bajwat, Sujeetgarh and Charwa sectors. Pak Army and Chenab rangers blew up three Indian posts in Bajwat and Charwa sectors, killing at least 10 Indian troops and injuring more than 20 on Saturday and Sunday nights. Two army vehicles and huge ammunition of the enemy were also destroyed. Official sources have informed that the exchange of firing and shelling was intermittently going on in all the sectors of the Sialkot Working Boundary on Monday. Hundreds of villagers from the area have started evacuating their villages and shifting towards safer places in and around Sialkot.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army has directed the villagers living close to the Sialkot Working Boundary to evacuate their villages on Monday. Officials said that the decision had been made in view of the unprovoked and intensified Indian firing and shelling on the civilian population. The villages to be evacuated included Anula, Thathi Kalan, Mehenderwal, Umranwali, Junian Vainse, Nandpur, Rangpur Jattan, Kairey Batoly and Jhumain Dalalan.

Another three people were killed in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) on Sunday and Monday as Indian troops continued shelling across the Line of Control (LoC), officials said. An Indian security person was killed in retaliatory fire. While two men were killed on Sunday, a woman died on Monday. "The woman was hit by shrapnels of a mortar shell in Jhandi Chotran village in Samahni sector in the southernmost Bhimbher district," an administration official told AFP from Bhimbher. "But the intensity of bombardment is not as severe as compared to yesterday," the official said. Officials here said shelling continued overnight but caused no casualties. "Overnight exchange of fire took place in Poonch, Bhimbher and in Neelum valley, but, fortunately no human casualty was reported from anywhere," a police officer told AFP. He said in Neelum Valley several shells landed in the main market and a nursery in the town of Athmuqam, some 80 kilometres northeast of Muzaffarabad. But no one was hurt. The firing damaged the railings of a small bridge near the town of Tatta Pani in district Kotli, he said. The bridge, which connects the districts of Kotli and Poonch, was repaired early Monday and traffic was not disrupted, he said.

In retaliatory fire by Pakistan, a soldier of India's paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) was killed in Rajouri district 75 kilometres west of held Jammu, while another trooper at the same post was injured in the attack. And on Monday, two people were killed and another was injured in AJK as Indian troops targeted several border villages and larger settlements with long-range weapons.

Shelling began in the southern Poonch district in the evening, with Indian troops using mortars and artillery, Poonch deputy commissioner Liaqat Hussain told AFP. "The shelling is worst and is continuing. The enemy troops are targeting the civilian populations," he said. Hussain said police reported that 20-25 shells had landed in the major town of Abbaspur, which has a population of some 15,000 people and is located barely five kilometres from the LoC. "It is the first time since the 1971 war that the city has come under direct fire," Hussain said. "One of the shells landed near a rest house in the heart of the city, killing a man standing there on the spot," he said, adding that another man was killed in Bokra village.

Hussain said the town of Sehra had also received more than 25 shells, but there was no immediate report of losses. "The losses could be higher in every area, but we have to wait for the shelling to subside to collect details," he said. The latest deaths pushed the toll on the Pakistani side of the LoC to 42 since the shelling started earlier this month. On the other side of the Line of the Control, 15 Indians have been killed.


The News International, Monday, May 27, 2002, (Updated at 2030 PST)
9 embraced Shahadat, 42 injured due to Indian shelling

RAWALPINDI: Nine persons including two women embraced Shahadat and forty two were injured due to unprovoked shelling and firing by the Indian troops along the Line of Control (Azad Kashmir) and working boundary (Sialkot, Jammu Sector) during the last 24 hours.

According to ISPR, Indian Army used automatic weapons, medium and short range artillery, mortars and rocket launchers causing damage to civilian property including primary schools and rural health centres.


The News International, Thursday, May 23, 2002, (Updated at 1350 PST)
Indian shelling toll in Azad Kashmir mounts to 24

MUZAFFARABAD: Three people were killed by Indian shelling overnight in the Pakistani zone of disputed Kashmir, pushing the toll in the past week to 24, police and officials said Thursday.

The shelling was heavy overnight in a number of sectors, Deputy Commissioner for Poonch Liaqat Hussain told. An elderly woman died and a man was wounded late Wednesday in Dharr bazaar in Hajira sector of the southern Poonch district, he said.

"They fired shells that ignited fire," Hussain said, adding that five shops and a hotel were reduced to ashes in the bazaar and two houses were also damaged.

The market village of Dharr lies close to the Line of Control, the de facto border that divides the troubled Himalayan region of Kashmir between nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India.


The News International, Wednesday, May 22, 2002, (Updated at 1100 PST)
Death toll from shelling hits 18 in Azad Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD: A sixth day of heavy shelling by Indian forces on Azad Kashmir pushed the death toll up to 18, reports said Wednesday.

Shells landed as far as 15 kilometres inside Pakistani territory when firing began at midday, injuring three people in the village of Choki, previously considered a safe area, a report said.

Shelling was heavy overnight in a number of sectors and killed three people, including two young girls, officials said.

A 13-year-old girl was killed and her infant sister was wounded in Gundi Garan village in southern Chakothi sector, they said.


The News International, Monday, May 20, 2002
12 Pak civilians, three Indian troops killed in LoC fire

ISLAMABAD: Twelve Pakistani villagers were killed while 50 injured as Indian army continued unprovoked shelling of civilian population along the Sialkot Working Boundary and the Line of Control. Three Indian troops were also killed in retaliation by Pakistani soldiers.

As a result of fresh unprovoked artillery assault by the Indian army on late Sunday night on Samani Bazar in Bhimbher district of Azad Kashmir, three civilians were martyred and eight others were grievously injured, official sources said.

They told APP that the Indian army, from across the Line of Control indiscriminately fired on the Samani Bazar, targeting the civil population at about 8:00 pm. As a result, three persons embraced martyrdom and eight other civilians were injured, they added.

The sources said that all the injured were admitted in Samani and Bhimbher hospitals, where they were provided medicare. They said that the firing by the Indian army continued intermittently for some time. Private property was also damaged in Samani Bazar because of the Indian army firing.

Meanwhile, the number of the civilians martyred in three seperate incidents of the unprovoked shelling and firing by the Indian army on Azad Jammu and Kashmir's villages in Samani and Barnala in Bhimbher sector on Sunday increased to four, and those injured to 13.

The APP reported ISPR sources as having said that more than 20 villages had been affected by heavy Indian shelling on the sub-sectors of Marala, Mirajkey and Shakargarh along the Working Boundary. Eleven injured villagers were rushed to nearby hospitals.

The APP continued that civilian population along the LoC and the Working Boundary had been braving indiscriminate Indian shelling for the third consecutive day on Sunday. Three people embraced martyrdom in Keal, two in Aathmaqam and one in Chakothi. A women embraced martyrdom in Bernala sub-sector on the LoC.

Indian army's unprovoked firing also caused heavy damage to the civilian property. Many houses have been destroyed as medium and field artillery mortars and direct firing weapons were used by the Indian army. The injured have been admitted to the Combined Military Hospital, Muzaffarabad.

The Pakistan Army is responding effectively to the unprovoked firing on the civilian population by targeting the Indian military positions. However an Indian defence spokesman said shells were landing on civilian areas on the Indian side in the southern Kashmir but there were no reports of casualties.

Our correspondent adds: Two Pakistani villagers and three Indian troops were killed while nine injured in the exchange of shelling. The exchange of shelling and firing continued in Shakargarh, Zafarwal, Charka, Chaprar, Bajwat and Sujeetgarh sectors during the last 24 hours. Official sources told The News Sunday evening that two Pakistani villagers Abdul Karim, 60, of Luni village and Wahabuddin, 55, of the Tunder village were martyred due by Indian firing in the Bajwat and Shakargarh sectors respectively.

Both received Indian bullets while at home. Nine persons, including a woman, sustained severe injuries in different border area villages. In the Bajwat sector, Muhammad Younis, Abdul Rasheed, Asif Ali, Nisar Ali, Muhammad Akram, Muhammad Iqbal, Mukhtar Ahmad and Abdul Karim and in Chaprar sector Hanifan Bibi were injured and were subsequently hospitalised in Sialkot.

Meanwhile, the Chenab Rangers on Sunday hit three Indian defence posts in Akhnur in front of the Bajwat sector, killing at least three Indian troops. The enemy troops were seen shifting their injured companions, whose number could be more than ten.

The official sources reported that the exchange of fire and shelling was continuing in all the sectors of the 220km-long Sialkot Working Boundary. The Indian firing was intensified in the Bajwat and Shakargarh sectors, where the Chenab Rangers were retaliating the fire.


The News International, Sunday, May 19, 2002
Two killed in Indian shelling on AJK areas

Iftikharabad, Chakothi, Shahkot, Haji Pir and Kel targeted

ISLAMABAD: Two people were killed and 15 injured as the Indian army unleashed "indiscriminate" firing and shelling across the Line of Control (LoC) into Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Pakistan Army officials said on Saturday.

"The Pakistan army swiftly responded and targeted the hostile Indian military positions," it said in a statement. The "unprovoked" attack targeted several places along LoC, it said, adding that intense shelling began at dawn in a number of sub-sectors, including Iftikharabad, Chakothi, Shahkot, Haji Pir and Kel. Indian troops used "medium and field artillery, mortars and direct firing weapons causing destruction of houses owned by civilians", the statement said.

Officials in Muzaffarabad, said that one woman was killed and 11 other people injured as Indian troops targeted the main bazaar in the border village of Chakothi. The shelling began at 9:40 am and was continuing around midday, senior police officer Raja Ghulam Sarwar said. The Indians were targeting Chakothi's main bazaar and shops had closed for safety, Sarwar said. "People may move to safer places because the shelling is heavy," he said. An empty school building was hit and some shops were damaged, he said. Another death and several injuries were reported from the upper belt of Neelum valley, which straddles the disputed border and is a regular target for shelling. "The losses might be more than we have initially reported," a military source told AFP.

The bombardment began at 6:30 am (0030 GMT) in Chamb sector in the southern Bhimber district, Bhimber Deputy Commissioner Fayyaz Abbasi told AFP. "The shelling is continuing but we are yet to receive reports of any losses," he said, adding, "they are using machine guns, mortars and artillery." The Army said that four people, including two children and women, were injured in Indian shelling that targeted a Rural Health Centre, located in Iftikharabad sub-sector.


The News International, Saturday, May 18, 2002
12 dead, 40 hurt in heavy LoC fire

ISPR says Pakistan Army retaliated effectively, enemy's military positions hit; Marala, Mirajke, Shakargarh, Neelam, Rawla Kot sectors come under fire; villagers of border areas evacuating

ISLAMABAD: Eight Indian troops and four Pakistani civilians were killed and 40 others wounded in border skirmishes amid escalating tension here on Friday, sources and Pakistan Army officials said. Military sources said artillery was being readied for action.

Indian troops opened fire on villages on the Pakistani side of Line of Control and border areas, a Pakistan Army statement said Friday. "The Pakistan Army retaliated effectively and targeted the enemy's military positions causing considerable damage. The enemy was busy removing their dead and wounded soldiers when last reports came in," the statement said.

The "unprovoked" firing during the past 24 hours was reported in Marala, Mirajke, Shakargarh, Neelam and Rawla Kot sectors, the army said. An Indian defence ministry spokesman said Indian and Pakistani soldiers were using low-calibre weapons and added the fighting was mainly concentrated on the borders of the southern zone of Held Kashmir.

"Mortars, small arms and infantry weapons are being used in the sectors of Samba, R.S.Pora, Jammu and Heeranagar and in our retaliatory fire we have caused heavy damage on the Pakistani side," defence spokesman P.K. Bandhopadhya told AFP in New Delhi.

"There has been no damage on our side," he asserted. Highly-placed Indian military sources said batteries of high-caibre artillery guns were on the ready following the escalation of tensions. "Tensions are palpable on the borders and hence the activity," the source added.

Earlier, an Indian army spokesman said Pakistani troops opened "unprovoked" fire early in the morning on Indian posts in Kashmir, killing a boy and injuring four people. The shelling further heightened the tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours that has been building since the held Kashmir attack on Tuesday which killed 35 people.

An ISPR press release issued Friday said Indian army used automatic weapons including machine guns, recoilless rifles, mortars and rocket launchers. Four persons including an aged woman embraced shahadat and 40 were injured.

The villagers wounded in the firing were immediately rushed to the nearby medical centers. Serious injured were shifted to Sialkot. Indian army also resorted to unprovoked firing in various sub-sectors along LoC. Fifteen persons including women and children were injured. They were admitted to the nearby hospitals.

Much of the firing across the border Friday was in the Indian districts of Samba, Ramgarh and RS Pura, Indian army officials told The Associated Press in Jammu. One civilian was killed by Pakistani fire in the RS Pura sector, about 25 kilometers west of Jammu, a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.

Hundreds of people began to flee border villages, the police official said. Small and medium weapons fire was also reported from the Poonch and Naushera districts, where Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by a 1972 cease-fire line. Indian soldiers had told villagers Friday morning to be ready to leave, said local resident Bhola Ram.

Grim-faced Indian soldiers ferried ammunition to the border. Amid the uncertainty and fear, villagers huddled in school buildings and government offices in the sweltering heat. BD Sharma, a government official in the border district of Kathua, said residents from 11 villages were seeking shelter in vacant government buildings. He said about 2,000 people had fled.

The cross-border firing on Friday was ``a routine exchange of fire,'' army spokesman Col. Shruti Kant told The Associated Press. ``It does not warrant any serious concern at this moment.'' The United States and other allies are gravely concerned that a fourth war between the South Asian nuclear-armed rivals could be imminent, as a million Pakistani and Indian troops are on war alert along their border, agencies report.

Sialkot correspondent adds: In village Bhure Chak in the Shakargarh sector of the working border, Sulaiman, Naziran Bibi and Abdul Majeed were among the dead. Mohammad Aslam, Mohammad Hussain, Rukhsana Bibi, Rashida and Sukhar Din sustained severe injuries.

In the Chanwah sector of the working border, Bashir Hussain, Rizwan, Gulshan Bibi, Nuzhat Abdurrehman, Bilal and Saiqa sustained severe injuries due to the Indian firing. In the Bajwat sector, Ghulam Dastgir was injured.

Similarly in the Shakargarh sector, four peasants including Mohammad Sajeed Gul were reported injured due to the Indian firing. On the other hand while returning the Indian firing, the Chenab Rangers killed over seven Indian troops in the Bajwat Sujeetgarh and Shakargarh sectors. Official sources reported Friday evening that the Chenab Ranges had destroyed three Indian defence posts.

Ten Indian troops were injured and at least two Indian military vehicles were destroyed, it was reported. Heavy exchange of shelling and firing involving light and medium level weapons was continuing in all the sectors of the Sialkot working boundry till the filing of this report. Meanwhile, due to the mounting tension villagers residing in the border areas of the Sialkot working boundary have once again started shifting to safer places.


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