LoC firing forces people to move in migrated areas

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 3:46:40 by

Hundreds of villagers have left their homes in several villages of Azad Jammu and Kashmir due to cross-border shelling at the line of control.

Pakistan officials accused the Indian army of killing six people and injuring several others in shelling across the borders of Kashmir.

On the other hand, India also claimed killing of five of its soldiers in the attacks, which was denied by the Pakistani officials. According to them, Pakistan Army only reiterated the attack and called for restraint.

Member Legislative Assembly, Javed Iqbal Budhanwi, who belonged to Nakyal sector, claimed that over 300 people have left their homes in several villages of the areas to escape cross-border shelling by the Indian troops.

He stated, “Most of the displaced, from Datoot village, have been given shelter at camps set up in colleges in the town of Nakyal, Kotli”.

Nakyal is Tehsil of Kotli District and around 200 kilometres south of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir.

There are several villages along the Line of Control that have been reeling under the cloud of fear and uncertainty due to the deadly border skirmishes between the two nuclear powers. The landmines and cross-firing only add to the vulnerability of these villagers, virtually living on the edge.

Trapped in the line of fire, the villagers living along the border of Kashmir are gravely concerned about their lives. The future of those families, who migrated to settled areas to escape shelling, looks bleak as fear and uncertainty increasingly loom large.

The Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has announced a complete shut-down including the local schools within three kilometres of LoC for an indefinite period.

Karamt Hussain, who lives in Turkandi, said his village has attacked by Indian troops several times in the last three weeks. His family was forced to migrate in a camp in Kotli to escape shelling.

He was worried about his animals and corps that were only his sources of income. He was also worried about study of his son, Noman, who is grade 7 student in the local school.

“The mounting tensions at LoC will destroy our life forever, as we cannot leave our ancestors’ land” he said.

At the same time, business community in Kashmir are concerned about the deteriorating situation at the Line of Control. Barter trade across the borders, which divides the state between the two neighbours, began in 2008 as part of peace efforts.

Mounting tensions and deadly skirmishes along the LoC have seen the trade come to a standstill for more than three weeks.

The barter arrangement sees goods including rice, jewels, sandals and fruit leaving Pakistani-administered Kashmir and carpets, shawls, dried fruits, and spices amongst others coming from the Indian-administered side.

Pakistan and India inked a historic bilateral ceasefire agreement, bringing solace to the hundreds of people living near the border. However, 2013 has witnessed the highest number of ceasefire violations in more than a decade, resulting in deaths and destruction on both sides.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has made improving ties with neighbouring countries a key foreign-policy priority since winning elections on May 11.

Ironically, the border clashes have increased after the premiers of India and Pakistan pledged to reduce violence on the Line of Control as the first step towards a comprehensive peace in the restive region. Both the countries accuse each other of unprovoked firing on the restive border.

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Short URL: https://www.newspakistan.pk/?p=42699

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