25 May 2017

News Report: Pakistan Says India Fired at UN Observers in Kashmir

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan says U.N. military observers visiting its side of the disputed Kashmir border came under attack Wednesday from the Indian troops, but were not hurt.

The world body has stationed its mission in the region called U.N. Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, or UNMOGIP, which observes and reports cease-fire violations across the Line of Control that divides the Himalayan territory between the two nuclear-armed rival nations.

A Pakistan army statement said a vehicle “with blue UNMOGIP flag hoisted as per procedure” was carrying two officers of the mission, from the Philippines and Croatia, on a visit to LoC when Indian forces fired at them.

“Both officers remained safe ...” it added.

There was no immediate response from New Delhi and officials at UNMOGIP's office on the Pakistani side were also not available for comment.

Pakistani and Indian troops have been locked in cross-border shelling in Kashmir, each accusing the other of violating a mutual cease-fire.

The Indian army this week released video of what it described as “punitive fire assaults” against Pakistan army outposts that destroyed the installations to deter militant infiltration.

But Pakistan swiftly rejected the claim as “totally baseless and misleading.” Army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor in turn released a video purportedly showing heavy damage caused to the Indian military outposts across the Kashmir frontier.

The Pakistani air force has also reportedly “activated its forward operational bases” following media reports Indian air force officers have been asked to be “prepared for action at a very short notice.

On Wednesday, air force chief Sohail Aman warned his institution would strongly respond to any “misadventure by the enemy.” He was responding to reports Indian air force officers have been asked to be “prepared for action on short notice.”

“Our response to any aggression by the enemy will be such that their future generations will also remember it,” Aman said.

A top American intelligence official has also cautioned India “is considering punitive options to raise the cost to Islamabad for its alleged support to cross- border terrorism.”

Lt. General Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, made the remarks at a congressional hearing Tuesday on worldwide threats.

India and Pakistan have already fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947. Kashmir was the issue in most of the conflicts and the dispute remains the primary source of regional tension.

This story first appeared on Voice of America & is reposted here with permission.