SIALKOT - Three villagers were martyred and 23 injured in a heavy mortar attack by Indian forces on border villages in Sialkot on Tuesday.

The villagers in Bajwat sector were having breakfast in their homes when India’s Border Security Force (BSF) launched an unprovoked assault, a spokesman for the Pakistan Rangers said. The attack continued seven hours and targeted civilians.

In village Sukhiyaal-Bajwat, local farmer Muhammad Akram’s family was sitting in the courtyard of their house after saying Fajr prayers when Indian BSF mortar shelling killed his son Muhammad Asif, 14, and injured his father Muhammad Akram, 45, his children Fatima Akram, eight, Qaisar Akram, 11, and his brother Muhammad Aslam.

In village Kachhi Maand-Bajwat, Muhammad Adnan, 22, son of Muhammad Din was sitting in the courtyard of his house when he was killed by BSF shells.

In village Kheri-Bajwat, local farmer Muhammad Sadiq, 45, and his wife Shehnaz Bibi were injured when mortar shells hit their house.

All the injured – Muhammad Sadiq, Shehnaz Bibi, Muhammad Akram, his two minor children, Fatima Akram and Qaiser, and Muhammad Aslam, Faisal and others – were shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Sialkot, where one of the injured, Faisal, nine, expired while the condition of others was critical.

The martyred Pakistani citizens were laid to rest in the graveyards of their respective villages. A large number of people attended their funerals.

The affected families, their relatives, heirs of the deceased persons and other villagers staged anti-India demonstrations by placing the bodies on the main streets of the villages. They also chanted anti-India slogans.

They urged the Pakistan government to take up the issue of the Indian unprovoked shelling on the villages along the Sialkot Working Boundary with the UN and other international forums.

Local MNA Ch Armughan Subhani, accompanied by Sufi Muhammad Ishaq, visited the shelling-hit villages in Bajwat sector and condoled with the bereaved families. He strongly condemned the brutal killings of the villagers by the unprovoked Indian shelling.

MNA Ch Armughan Subhani also visited several houses badly damaged by the Indian shelling on Sukhiyaal, Kachhi Maand, Looni, Kheri and surrounding villages in Bajwat sector. Several heavy mortar shells fired by the Indian BSF landed into the fields and did not explode, he noted.

MNA Ch Armughan Subhani told the villagers that Pakistan had lodged a strong protest against the killings of Pakistani citizens by the unprovoked BSF shelling.

On July 16, 2015, three Pakistani citizens, Rahat Mehmood, Muhammad Boota and Ghulam Mustafa, were martyred and five others, including two women, were injured by the unprovoked mortar shelling of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on villages in Chaprar sector of Sialkot Working Boundary here. The Indian mortar shells had also killed 15 cattle heads in Chaprar sector.

According to AFP, a man was also killed in Held Kashmir’s Pargwal sector as a result of the exchange of fire.

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: Fresh ceasefire violations at LoC and Working Boundary by India pushed Pakistan on Tuesday to protest killing of innocent civilians while the Pak Army resolved to counter the threat.

The Foreign Office, reacting to the Indian shelling and killing of the civilians, said ceasefire violations would lower prospects of the proposed meeting of their national security advisors (NSAs) this month.

“How can Pakistan accept India’s proposal when there is no letup in its continuous unprovoked ceasefire violations?” a senior diplomat said when asked whether Islamabad had responded to India’s proposed the national security advisers’ meeting later this month.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on National security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz confirmed last weekend that India had proposed a meeting of the national security advisers of the two countries on August 23 and August 24 in New Delhi, but said Islamabad had yet to respond to the proposal. He further said the agenda of the proposed meeting had not so far been fixed.

While lodging protest with India on Tuesday, the Foreign Office spokesperson said Pakistan conveyed its deep concern over the continuous unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian side at the LoC and the Working Boundary as well as targeting of the civilians.

The FO spokesperson in his protest note said the unprovoked ceasefire violations were started by India at New Kane and two other posts at 5:30am, adding when Pakistani posts retaliated, the Indian troops opened fire from all their posts in the area, targeting civilians.

While condemning the ceasefire violations, the spokesperson called upon New Delhi to observe the 2003 bilateral ceasefire accord in the interest of peace and stability in the region.