SIALKOT: As many as three minor children, including a brother and his sister, were killed and another child was injured seriously in a mortar shell explosion at their home in a far-off bordering village, Tugalpur, Shakargarh, along the Sialkot Working Boundary here on the Youm-e-Ashur.

According to details, some children of the village were playing in the fields when they found a heavy mortar shell there. The mortar shell had recently been fired on the border village by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. It had fallen into the fields, but could not explode. The children considered the shell as a toy, picked it up and took it to their home. After some time, all of a sudden, the mortar shell went off in the compound of the house, killing three children: Hafeezullah, 11, his sister Saira, eight, and their neighbour Hunzla Qasim. In addition, 10-year-old Azhar was seriously injured. The injured was admitted to Sialkot Civil Hospital in a critical condition.  The deceased children were laid to rest on Wednesday amid sobs and tears in their native graveyard. A large number of people from all walks of life attended the funeral prayers of the children. Very heartbreaking and gloomy scenes were witnessed when the three funerals were taken out. Several women fell unconscious on this occasion. The atmosphere presented a scene of mourning also for the second consecutive day in the village and surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed deep grief and sorrow over these demises. He prayed to Allah to rest the departed souls in eternal peace and grant fortitude to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has also expressed deep grief and sorrow over the deaths of innocent children. The chief minister has sought a detailed inquiry report from the Narowal DPO within 24 hours in this regard. In another incident, the local bomb disposal squad on Wednesday defused a high-intensity Indian mortar shell, weighing 12 pounds, found in the house of a local farmer, Ghazanfar Ali, in the bordering village, Sukmaal, Shakargarh, along the Sialkot Working Boundary. The Indian Border Security Force personnel had recently fired this heavy mortar shell on the border village, which fell there, but could not explode. The people living in the Sialkot border villages have urged the army to purge these border villages of the small and big mortar shells recently fired by the Indian BSF personnel.    –Zafar Malik