M A I N   N E W S

Pak firing unabated, 11 Indian posts targeted
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria/TNS

Jammu, August 13
Pakistani troops opened heavy fire on 11 Indian forward posts in Balakote and Mankote sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district for nine hours on the intervening night of August 12 and 13.

Panicked villagers fled their houses in the night and took refuge in safer areas.

Indian troops gave an “effective” response to the unwarranted and unprovoked act of the Pakistan army.

Pakistani troops had opened heavy fire on 11 Indian forward posts on the intervening night of August 11 and 12 along the Line of Control in the Durga Battalion area in Poonch district with mortar shells, rocket propelled grenades, automatic and small arms firing.

Rangers also targeted BSF posts in Ramgarh sector along the International Border of Samba district this morning. “Firing continued throughout night in Mendhar battalion and Hamirpur areas by Pakistani troops in sheer violation of the ceasefire agreement,” said Jammu-based officiating Defence PRO SN Acharya. He said the firing stopped at 6 am. “No damage or injury to our troops has been reported.”

Sources said around 9 pm last night, Pakistani troops opened unprovoked fire on Indian forward posts of Deri Dabsi, Shiva, 81, 82, 83, 84, Banglore, Sheri, Pili, Phagwari Gali, Sabra Gali and Balakote in Mendhar and Hamirpur areas of Poonch.

“Pakistani troops opened fire from eight posts viz Kayat Forward, Kanyat Rear, Gold Tree, New Defence, Dabsi Rear, Dabsi Center, Dabsi Forward and Goga posts, where 605 Mujahid Regiment is based,” a source said.

The Indian posts in these areas are being manned by 5 Grenadiers, 49 Rashtriya Rifles and 15 Bihar Regiment, they added.

Villagers especially in Basuni, Sandot and Balakote areas fled to safer areas. “They returned to their villages after the firing stopped around 6 am. No loss of life has been reported from these villages,” a source said.

Pakistan Rangers also opened small arms fire in Ramgarh sector of Samba district along the International Border. “Around 7.30 am, Rangers opened small arms fire on Narainpur post of the BSF from their Ashraf post, inviting a calibrated response from us,” said a BSF officer. The gun-battle lasted over 15 minutes.




UN can mediate if both sides agree: Ban
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

Expressing sorrow over the recent outbreak of violence on the Line of Control in Kashmir, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has underscored the need for Pakistan and India to resolve the “longstanding” issue, saying his good offices are available if both sides agree to his mediation.

“While I am saddened by the loss of lives in the course of all this conflict, I am relatively, reasonably encouraged by the recent move by both the sides to engage in dialogue, to resolve their source of conflict through dialogue - that I will strongly welcome and support,” the Secretary-General said in an interview with the UN-based correspondent of APP before his departure for Islamabad for an official two-day visit.

The Secretary-General flew into Islamabad in wee hours of Tuesday. Apart from flurry of meetings with Pakistan leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army chief Gen Ashfaque Perez Kayani, he will participate in Pakistan’s Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.

“My offer of good office remains available. If both sides think this is useful and both sides agree, then I’ll be ready to offer my good offices,” Ban said in response to a question whether he could help leaders of India and Pakistan resolve the decades-old dispute, which is on the agenda of the UN Security Council.

Ban said he looked forward to discussing with the newly-elected Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a number of important issues, including Afghanistan.





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