MUZAFFARABAD - At least six civilians were killed and 12 others wounded by Indian shelling at border villages along the Line of Control (LoC) in Nakyal sector in Azad Kashmir on Friday.

Three civilians including a minor girl and a woman were killed in Pir Kalanjar village in Nakyal on Friday when an artillery shell fired by Indian forces hit a house where a wedding party was under way. According to the local police, a four-year-old-girl, identified as Aamira, and a woman, identified as Saima, 25, were killed while five others injured due to the shelling.

Three other civilians identified as Malik Abdul Majeed, Ahmed Din and Noor Muhammad of Dubsi Langot border villages were killed and seven others wounded during the overnight Indian shelling from across the Line of Control.

INDIAN DEPUTY HC SUMMONED AGAIN

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: On Friday, Director-General (South Asia and SAARC) in Foreign Ministry Dr Muhammad Faisal summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh to protest the unprovoked ceasefire violations by Indian forces at the Working Boundary in Shakargarh sector and on the LoC in Nikial sector resulting in death of six civilians including two women and injuries to 22 civilians.

“The director-general urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire understanding; investigate the continued incidents of ceasefire violations, instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit, stop targeting the villages and civilians and maintain peace on the Working Boundary and the LoC,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

Meanwhile, The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) yesterday dismissed India’s claim of killing Pakistani soldiers along the Working Boundary.

“India’s claim of killing any Pakistani soldier along the Working Boundary is absolutely baseless and untrue,” the military’s media wing said in a statement.

“The claim is part of India’s propaganda campaign aiming to hide its losses at the Working Boundary and to divert the world’s attention from ongoing Kashmir issue,” the statement added.

According to the ISPR, Pakistan Army befittingly responded to ceasefire violations. “Flames were seen at the Indian checkposts after Pakistani forces gave an effective response to silence the enemy’s guns,” the military’s media wing said. The exchange of fire took place at around 8pm at Jandroot and Nakyal sectors.

US URGES PAKISTAN, INDIA TO HOLD TALKS

Special Correspondent from Washington adds: The United States has called on Pakistan and India to resolve their differences through talks, as the two South Asian countries expelled a staffer each from the other country's diplomatic missions marking a new low in their deteriorating relations.

"We've seen the reports of these decisions. These are sovereign decisions that nation-states make, and these are issues that we're going to leave to India and Pakistan to work out," State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the daily press briefing.

"These are issues that we believe India and Pakistan need to discuss, need to talk about, need to work out between themselves," Kirby said.

On Thursday, India and Pakistan declared a staffer each at their High Commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad 'persona non-grata' and sought their recall in tit-for-tat action after Indian police busted an alleged ISI-run spy ring involving an employee of the Pakistani mission.