Army denies Indian claim of ‘assault’ on Pakistani posts along LoC

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Pakistan Army on Tuesday denied claims by the Indian Army that the latter had carried out an ‘operation’ on Pakistani posts along the Line of Control (LoC).

“Indian claims of destroying Pakistani post along LoC in Naushera Sector and firing by Pakistan Army on civilians across LoC are false,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet.

Indian army had claimed that it had recently carried out “punitive fire assaults” on Pakistan’s posts along the LoC in a bid to prevent “infiltrators” from entering India, Hindustan Times had reported earlier.

A heavily edited video was also circulated widely in Indian media to ‘substantiate’ the claim.

“Pakistani army has been providing full support to infiltrators by engaging Indian Army posts,” the daily quoted Indian Army Maj Gen Ashok Narula as saying in a briefing.

Narula further claimed that damage had been caused to the posts in question and added that the purpose of the Indian army’s ‘engagement’ was to “bring down the number of terrorists in Kashmir so that local youth are not encouraged to take up arms”.

Earlier this month, the Indian army claimed that Pakistani forces fired rockets and mortars at two Indian posts along the LoC and mutilated the bodies of two Indian soldiers.

“In a unsoldierly act by the Pakistan Army the bodies of two of our soldiers in the patrol were mutilated,” the Indian Army claimed in a statement, adding that the “despicable act will be appropriately responded”.

However, Pakistan Army had refuted those claims, saying Pakistani soldiers would never disrespect another soldier, even if they were Indian.

“Indian blame of mutilating Indian soldiers’ bodies are also false,” an ISPR statement released at the time said.

Tense relations

Incidents of cross-border firing have become a norm since the last months of 2016 as tensions simmered between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir issue. Exchanges of fire have been reported sporadically since the new year began.

Following the Uri army base attack in September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically.

In the days following the attack, India claimed to have conducted a cross-border ‘surgical strike’ against ‘launch pads of terror’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan strongly rejected.

Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world’s attention away from ‘atrocities’ committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

The two countries have locked horns over the Kashmir issue after Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces in July.

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