Indian troops have killed 13 in AJK since January
By Tariq Naqash
MUZAFFARABAD: As many as 13 people, three of them women, have so far been killed and another 97 injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in the ongoing year in `unprovoked` firing and shelling by Indian troops from across the Line of Control (LoC), an official said here on Monday.
Zaheeruddin Qureshi, Director General of State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), said that most of the injured people were women and children.
Giving details of the losses since January 1, he said five men and two women were killed in Kotli district, while 19 men and 23 women were injured.
Kotli district is home to Nakyal, Khuiratta, Charhoi and Tatta Pani sectors. Most casualties had taken place in Nakyal and Tatta Pani sectors.
In Poonch district, five men were killed and another 11 men and 15 women were injured, he said. At least two houses were partially damagedinPoonch district.
In Bhimber district, one womanwaskilledand11men and eight women were injured.
In Jhelum valley district, three men and one woman and in Haveli district five men and one woman were injured. Seven houses were partially or completely damaged in the two districts.
A state-run girls` primary school was also partially damaged in Jhelum valley district, he said.
Fortunately, no casualtyor other damage was reported from Neelum valley, which also runs along the LoC and is vulnerable to Indian guns.
Last year, Mr Qureshi said, the number of dead and injured civilians was 39 and 132, respectively.
In 2016, 84 houses were partially and four completely damaged in Indian shelling, which also left around 36 cattle dead and two vehicles damaged.
One of these vehicles was a coaster that was hit by Indian troops initially with small arms and then with mortars in the upper belt of Neelum valley on November 23. Nine passengers were killed in that shelling incident on the spot while another three died afterwards in different hospitals.
The other vehicle was an ambulance that was hit when it was ferrying the victims of thatcoastertoMuzaffarabad.
The AJK government pays Rs300,000 to dependents of the people killed in Indian firing and Rs250,000 to Rs100,000 to the injured, based on the nature of injuries, from funds of Board of Revenue, Mr Qureshi said.
People often complain that the compensation money given to victims of Indian shelling, who are described as the first line of defence, is inadequate when compared with compensation of the victims of natural disasters in other areas of Pakistan.
In response to a question, the SDMA chief said that the shelling along the LoC beganin1989 afterthe people of India-held Kashmir took up arms against occupation forces.
From 1989 to 2017, the total number of the AJK residents who lost their lives to Indian shelling was 833 while those injured were 3,004, he said.