Commanders’ Level Flag Meet Tomorrow: LoC Continues To Be Tense In Poonch

Commanders’ Level Flag Meet Tomorrow: LoC Continues To Be Tense In Poonch

13 January 2013
Kashmir Times
Anubhav Misri

Poonch: Few hours after Pakistan agreed for Brigade commander level flag meeting at Chakkan Da Bagh tomorrow, its army once again violated cease fire and opened heavy fire on Indian forward posts in Krishna Ghati sector of Mendhar tehsil and Jhallas area in Poonch district on Sunday evening. The firing was equally retaliated by Indian troops. Yet this exchange of fire from Krishna Ghati (KG) Sector to Jhallas in Poonch district has put question mark over the flag level meeting scheduled for tomorrow. “Brigade Commanders' flag meeting is being held tomorrow afternoon at 12.30 PM at Chakkan-Da-Bagh LoC point in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir,” a senior army officer was quoted by agencies. He said Pakistan agreed to hold the flag meeting in a communication through a hotline in the sector, adding, “We had sought the flag meeting of the brigade commanders of the two sides and today Pakistan responded and agreed for that. The meeting is scheduled to be held tomorrow.” He stated that Indian army had sent a hotline message to the Pakistan army on January 11 and asked for a flag meeting to discuss the issues of brutal killing of two jawans by Pakistani troops, reportedly belonging to 29 Baloch Regiment and increasing incidents of firing and ceasefire violations in the Poonch sector. According to sources, M K Mago Commander 93 Infantry Brigade and J S Sandhu Commander 10 Brigade are likely to represent Indian side while Talat Qayoom Commander 2 PAK Brigade is likely to represent Pak side. Sources said that Indian army will highlight issues pertaining to Ceasefire violation by Pakistan army and brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by Border Action Team (BAT) of 29 Baloch. The Confidence Building Measures (CMBs) pertaining to cross-LoC trade and travel were also expected to come up for discussion during the flag meeting. Pakistan has suspended cross-LoC trade and travel at Chakkan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch sector since Thursday. In the meanwhile, Pakistan troops Sunday evening once again violated cease fire and targeted seven Indian forward posts in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district thus putting a question mark over the scheduled Brigade Commander level flag meeting scheduled for tomorrow. After a lull for 14 hours Pakistan army once again violated cease fire at Krishna Ghati sector of Mendhar tehsil in Poonch district by resorting to heavy firing using small arms, LMG rounds and mortars on seven Indian forward posts along the Line of Control in Poonch district Official sources said that there was firing from light weapons, mortars and LMG on forward Indian posts viz., Nangi Tekri, Kranti-1, Kranti-2, Kirpan, Ravi, Jam, Ghoda, Roshni, Dogra, Chhajjamann along LoC falling between Krishna Ghati of Mendhar tehsil up to Jhallas in Poonch district. The firing from Pakistan side started at around 6.45 PM this evening provoking Indian side to retaliate after exercising restraint for quite some time. The Pakistani troops of 655 Mujahid opened fire from their forward posts. Indian troops of 3 Grenadier guarding the LoC retaliated with equal caliber when heavy fire was used by Pakistan troops. The cross border firing continued till last reports poured in. A senior army officer said Pak army carried on unprovoked firing from Roza, Chooha, Kaddu, Kas, Battal, Nagi, Dharmash, Trench, Dharmuchia and Daku posts on Indian forward posts from K G Sector up to Jhallas in Poonch. “Our troops guarding firstly restrained themselves from firing yet later they retaliated,” he said. He further said, “On one side, Pak army agreed for Brigade Commander level flag meeting and on the other hand it continued to violate ceasefire on LoC thus putting a question mark over the fate of tomorrow’s meeting. Tomorrow’s flag meeting will be the second Brigade Commander-level flag meeting to be held at Chakkan Da Bagh in the Poonch sector in the last 6 months. Earlier a Brigade Commanders' meeting was held at Chakkan-Da-Bagh LoC point on June 23 following the killing of two Indian soldiers and injuries to four other jawans in ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops, besides closure of the cross- LoC trade and travel via Chakkan-Da-Bagh. The two jawans were killed and four others were injured in the firing by Pakistan troops between June 11 to 16 in the Poonch sector. Inputs from Mendhar suggested that the firing was started by Indian troops at around 7.00 PM after they noticed suspected movement near K G Sector forward posts. PRO Defence Col R K Palta, however, when contacted, stated, “At 18.30 hours, Indian forward posts in K G Sector came under heavy fire from Pakistan side. This continued for 10-15 minutes provoking Indian side to retaliate in equal measure. Following this firing from the other side stopped.” In the meanwhile the reports suggested that the Indian army installed surveillance equipments in Balnoi, Krishna Ghati and Mankote sector of Poonch district to guard against the explosives and also conducted searches in these areas amid inputs that few infiltrators had already sneaked into Indian side.