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Thursday, April 04, 2019, 10:43
Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over Kashmir killings
By Associated Press
Thursday, April 04, 2019, 10:43 By Associated Press

In this Oct 15, 2014, file photo, Pakistani police officers stand guard at Chakoti post situated at the line of control between Pakistan and Indian Kashmirs, in Pakistan. Officials said on April 2, 2019 that Pakistan and India traded fire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, leaving seven people dead. (M.D. MUGHAL / AP)

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it has summoned an Indian diplomat to lodge a strong protest over what it said was this week's intentional targeting of civilians by Indian troops in disputed Kashmir that killed four.

On Tuesday, officials said Pakistan and India traded fire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, leaving seven people dead — three Pakistani soldiers, a Pakistani villager, an Indian woman and a girl and a member of the Indian paramilitary troops.

Officials said Tuesday Pakistan and India traded fire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, leaving seven people dead. Both sides claim they did not initiate the fighting

Both sides claim they did not initiate the fighting.

The fatalities were some of the highest since tensions flared between the rival nuclear-armed nations after a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops in Indian-administered Kashmir in February.

ALSO READ: India, Pakistan again target army posts, villages in Kashmir

Pakistan's move to summon the Indian diplomat came a day after the country's military said Indian fire killed three of its soldiers and a civilian on the Pakistani side of Kashmir, which is split between the two South Asian neighbors and claimed by both in its entirety.

Pakistani military said Tuesday Indian troops targeted its military positions overnight in the border town of Rakhchakri in Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir. Along with the three soldiers killed, a fourth was wounded, the army said. The statement added that Pakistani soldiers "responded effectively."

In Wednesday's statement, the Pakistani foreign ministry said several villagers were also wounded because of Indian shelling in Pakistan's part of Kashmir.

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers carry the coffin of their colleague T. Alex Lalminlun during a wreath-laying ceremony at the BSF headquarters in Jammu, India, April 2, 2019. (CHANNI ANAND / AP)

On the other hand, India said two of its civilians and a soldier were killed in Monday's skirmishes. 

The Indian army accused Pakistani troops of firing mortars and small-arms fire along the disputed frontier, the highly militarized so-called Line of Control, hitting the sector of Poonch in Indian-controlled Kashmir. It said Indian soldiers retaliated.

Indian police said an Indian paramilitary officer, a woman and a girl were killed in Monday's skirmishes, while at least 18 civilians and five troops were wounded

Indian police officer M.K. Sinha said an Indian paramilitary officer, a woman and a girl were killed while at least 18 civilians and five troops were wounded.

The cross border firing resumed on Tuesday morning, after a brief lull, he said.

ALSO READ: 8 killed in India-Pakistan fighting amid high tensions

Days after the Feb 14 suicide attack in Kashmir, India launched an airstrike inside Pakistan, saying it targeted militants from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group who had claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Pakistan retaliated and said it shot down two Indian air force planes; one Indian pilot was captured and later released and handed back to India amid signs of easing tensions. Pakistan said Washington, Moscow, Beijing and Riyadh helped avert all-out fighting but tensions remained. Islamabad later claimed no Pakistani was linked to the attack and that Jaish-e-Mohammed had no training camps inside Pakistan.

The group was founded by Pakistani militant Masood Azhar after his release from prison in India in 1999 in exchange for 155 hostages held on an Indian Airlines flight hijacked in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Azhar is believed to be seriously ill, living at an undisclosed location. 

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