ISLAMABAD/MUZAFFARABAD - Two civilians were killed and seven injured in Indian cross-border shelling in Poonch sector of Azad Kashmir on Thursday.

Senior government official Raja Tahir Mumtaz said the incident occurred in the Poonch sector along the Line of Control (LoC), the de-facto border that divides the Himalayan territory.

"These civilians were sleeping in their houses, one of the dead was a 65-year-old," Mumtaz said, adding that four women were among those injured.

Mohammad Ashfaq, a police official in the area, added that several houses were also damaged due to the mortar fire.

Meanwhile, Nafees Zakariya, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman, confirmed the deaths in a press briefing in Islamabad and accused India of carrying out unprovoked ceasefire violations.

Pakistan on Thursday summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh to register protest over violations along the Line of Control (LoC).

Director General (South Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned JP Singh and “condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian forces on June 1 along the LoC in Battal, Jandrot and Kotli sectors, resulting in the death of a civilian, Ghizar Ahmed, and injuries to four others including three women (Jamil Akmal, Sana, Asma, Fareha) in Battal sector and death of a civilian, Fazal Hussain, and injury to one other, Jamil Ahmed, in Kotli sector,” said a foreign office statement.

“The deliberate targeting of civilians is indeed condemnable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws,” it added.

The director-general urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire understanding; investigate this and other incidents of violations; instruct the Indian forces to respect the accord, in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC, it said.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim it in full and have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

Tensions reached dangerous levels again last September, with both sides blaming one another for cross-border raids.

There have since been repeated outbreaks of firing across the LoC, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.