Pakistan and India exchange fire in occupied Kashmir

Indian soldiers in occupied Kashmir (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

Pakistan and India have exchanged fire in the disputed region of Kashmir, which has resulted in hundreds of villagers fleeing, according to Indian police in occupied Kashmir.

The exchange which took place on Saturday have raised questions over the 15-year-old ceasefire between the two nuclear-armed south-east Asian countries.

It is not clear what sparked the latest fighting in the Uri sector on the so-called “Line of Control” (LoC) that divides the predominantly Muslim region.

But tensions have been running high since an attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir earlier this month where six soldiers were killed.

India blamed Pakistan for the attack and said it would make its foe “pay for the misadventure”.

Police superintendent Imtiaz Hussain said the artillery shells fired by the Pakistani army fell in the Uri area and hundreds of villagers had fled from their homes.

Occupying Indian forces retaliated via artillery fire, an Indian officer said, which the first time the guns had been used since a 2003 ceasefire along the “disputed frontier”.

The two armies have been exchanging intermittent mortar fire over the past few years as relations have deteriorated.

Mr Hussain said Pakistani authorities made announcements from a mosque advising villagers living close to the LoC on the Indian occupied side to flee, saying the situation was bad.

About 700 people were sheltering at a school in Uri, he said.

Pakistan and India have gone to war twice over Kashmir since independence from the UK in 1947.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry condemned the firing and said in a statement that 17 Pakistani civilians had been killed by occupying Indian forces along the LoC this year alone.

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