ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Friday summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along the Line of Control resulting in civilian deaths.

Director General South Asia Dr Mohammed Faisal summoned Singh and condemned the firing on April 2 in Padhar Sector, resulting in the death of two civilians - Nazir and Rafiq from village Bramla - and injuries to two others, a foreign ministry statement said.

Reports said that the cross-border clashes between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India had reached the highest levels in 15 years. Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in the clashes instigated by India.

The LoC and the Working Boundary had remained relatively peaceful after the 2003 ceasefire agreement but India violated the deal numerous times in the recent months, prompting a response from Pakistan. Islamabad claims 1,970 violations in 2017 against 168 two years earlier and 415 until the beginning of March 2018.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars since gaining independence from the British in 1947. The two regularly trade allegations of harassment and espionage against diplomats. Lately, Pakistan is active to de-escalate tension with India as Islamabad plans to host a group of Indian doctors to treat Indian prisoners detained here. India had proposed that a group of 20 doctors be allowed a visit to Pakistan to examine women, children, elderly and mentally-unsound prisoners. The two countries have already agreed for the release of these prisoners.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani in July 2016. An attack on Indian forces in September 2016 - that killed 19 soldiers in Uri area of held Kashmir - further heightened the tensions. India also claimed it had carried a “surgical strike” to avenge the Uri attack. Pakistan rejected the Indian claim.

Last week, India alleged Pakistan of inciting the Sikh community to intensify the ‘Khalistan’ campaign. The foreign ministry categorically rejected the Indian allegations.

The foreign ministry statement said: “The Indian forces along the Line of Control and the Working boundary are continuously targeting civilian populated areas with heavy weapons. In 2018, the Indian forces have carried out more than 1000 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, resulting in the death of 23 civilians, while injuring 107 others. This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing from the year 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1970 ceasefire violations.”       

The statement added: “The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws. The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation.”  The director general urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement, investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations, instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary.  He said that the Indian side should permit UN observers to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.