January 2003 News

Firing Along LoC Intensifies

23 January 2003
The Statesman

New Delhi: After a quiet period, firing along the LoC intensified today with the Army opening retaliatory mortar fire on frontline Pakistani positions at Kalaal, Makri and Sair in Nowshera in Rajouri district. According to reports from Jammu, the Indian side retaliated following Pakistan army’s heavy mortar fire on forward positions and civilian areas last evening. About 150 rounds of the Pakistan army’s 82mm mortars came in, army sources said. The Indian army’s 81mm mortars opened up and about 250 shells were fired. Mortar firing by the Pakistani Army began last evening. It continued for a long while. An Indian army jawan sustained injuries. One woman was also injured. The firing comes in the wake of India asking four Pakistani diplomats to leave, a sign that tensions have not abated. Normally, there is aimless firing along the LoC, but Pakistan also fires when militants are being infiltrated into India. The firing helps to keep heads down on the Indian side and allows the militants more time to slip in. Infiltration, despite the winter, is still continuing, General NC Vij said, and there have been about five attempts in the last eight days. Two militants, armed and equipped were intercepted and killed recently. Asking Pakistan to ensure implementation of its promises to end infiltration of militants into Kashmir, the US Ambassador to Islamabad, Ms Nancy Powell, today suggested declaration of cease-fire along the Line of Control, PTI adds from Karachi. Stating that all parties should end culture of violence in J&K, Ms Powell told a meeting of American Business Council that Pakistan must ensure its pledges are implemented to prevent infiltration across the LoC. One important step could be a cease-fire along the LoC, he reportedly said. No Laden men in PoK: An official in PoK denied reports that Al- Qaida men were active there, AFP adds from Muzaffarabad. Legislative Assembly Speaker Sardar Siab Khalid said foreign agencies such as FBI would be barred from searching for Al-Qaida in the region.


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