Pakistan takes envoys to LoC to globalise ‘Indian Army’s targeting’
A day after Pakistan took envoys of six key countries to the volatile Line of Control (LoC) to show them the “damage” caused by firing from the Indian Army, the Pakistani army on Saturday used loudspeakers at its Chakothi post – adjoining the Uri sector in Baramulla district – urging the residents of the villages it intended to target to vacate the inhabitations.
Moments before intense firing and shelling on Saturday morning that caused havoc in the twin villages of Silkote and Churanda, the Pakistani troops were heard announcing through loud speakers, “The villagers of ‘maqbooza Kashmir’ (the part of Kashmir under Indian control) are asked to shift to safer places in order to escape response to Indian firing and shelling.” In a while, the two villages came under heavy firing and shelling in which five houses were completely destroyed. The Indian troops retaliated as shelling and firing continued since morning.
Barely 24 hours ago, in an attempt to secure international attention to cross border firing, the Pakistan establishment had taken the envoys to Rawalakot sector. The Pakistani army said the visit was aimed at providing the envoys first-hand knowledge about the situation in the wake of “incessant ceasefire violations by Indian troops”. Situated in Pak-occupied Kashmir, Rawalakot is adjacent to the Indian side of Poonch district.
Silkote and Churanda were the worst affected in the firing by Pakistan army on Saturday as the twin villages are barely 2000 feet from the LoC. Other villages like Balkote, Tillawari, Thajal, Batgra and Hathlanga, which are farther, were also affected in the ceasefire violation. Government and military authorities used several vehicles, including ambulances, to take villagers to safer locations since the morning.
River Jhelum bifurcates many of the villages from the PoK in the Uri sector. The local administration in Uri has established a control room in the area after Pak firing. Nearly 500-odd residents of the villages close to LoC in the Uri sector have been shifted to safer locations by the authorities, DGP S P Vaid tweeted on Saturday.
On Friday, Pak army’s media arm Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the diplomats of US, UK, France, China, Turkey and Indonesia were briefed “about the Indian atrocities, including targeting of civilians”. Indian shelling has caused several civilian casualties in recent weeks, ISPR said.
ISPR said the envoys interacted with victims of cross-border fire. The Pak army also apprised them about the relief measures provided to the affected people in PoK.
While public remained confused amid government’s silence over reports that Pakistan was back in the terror financing watch list with Financial Action Task Force sealing its fate, political observers in Islamabad said the visit of the envoys seemed to be an attempt to convince the major countries that Pakistan was actually a victim and maintaining high “restraint” on the LoC. Barring Turkey, all countries whose envoys were taken to Rawalakot supported the US move at FATF meet in Paris.