Army briefs MoD, Hqrs as tension persists on LoC

Pak refuses to open gates at Chakan-Da-Bagh
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, June 18: As Pakistan army continued to escalate tensions on the Line of Control (LoC) by resorting to heavy firing using mortars, rockets and UBGLs after a long time, Army have sent a detailed briefing to the Ministry of Defence and Army Headquarters about the ‘‘evil designs’’ of enemy troops, which today led to suspension of weekly cross-LoC bus service between two parts of divided State on Poonch-Rawlakote route and an uncertainty looming large over four days trade from tomorrow.
This was for the first time that Poonch-Rawlakote bus and cross-LoC trade between two parts of divided State have been suspended due to hostilities between the Armies of the two countries.
Even as an unusual calm prevailed in Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch district, the epicenter of heavy firing by Pakistan army, retaliated in a controlled but effective manner by the troops, the Army authorities have given a detailed briefing to the MoD and Army Headquarters over prolonged spell of firing by Pakistan leading to one fatal casualties on this side and six injuries.
‘‘We have apprised the MoD and Army Headquarters about the unusual situation created by Pakistan army in Krishna Ghati sector. A detailed note has been sent to MoD and Army Headquarters. The matter would be taken up with Pakistan at the highest level by the MoD through appropriate channels’’, official sources said, describing suspension of cross-LoC bus service and trade between two parts of divided State by Pakistan as a ‘‘serious matter’’.
However, there was no firing from Pakistan today.
Ever since Pakistan army started heavy firing at KG sector on June 13, authorities of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) had refused to open gates at cross-LoC point of Chakan-Da-Bagh on June 14 and 15, the last two days of four days trade between two parts of divided State, without assigning any reasons. The trucks sent by the traders from this side to the zero line returned on both days.
Today, the weekly bus service between Poonch and Rawlakote didn’t ply from either side as already there were reports that PoK authorities wouldn’t open the gates at Chakan-Da-Bagh. Thirty civilians including 18 PoK returnees and 12 first time visitors from this side turned up at Poonch but returned as the bus didn’t ply.
Similarly, four days trade for the week from Tuesday to Friday was also unlikely to take place going by the attitude of Pakistan authorities. Though officers and traders from this side were ready for tomorrow’s trade, sources admitted that it was unlikely to materialize.
Meanwhile, in another effort to de-escalate tensions on the LoC especially in Krishna Ghati sector, Army today sent another message on hotline to Pakistan Army officials for a flag meeting tomorrow to discuss the situation arising out of heavy firing from across the LoC.
A previous such message by the Army to Pakistan for a flag meeting had been turned down by Pakistani troops without giving any reasons. So far, Indian authorities have only lodged their protest over Pakistan firing on the hotline as the flag meeting hasn’t materialized.
Troops on this side were confident that with calm prevailing today in Krishna Ghati sector with no firing from across the LoC, Pakistan army might come forward for a flag meeting tomorrow to discuss the issues and resolve tensions.
Pakistan army has reportedly claimed that they had lost four jawans while five civilians have been injured on their side in retaliatory firing by the Indian Army.
‘‘This was the major reason that they were not responding to the calls of flag meetings and also refusing to open gates at Chakan-Da-Bagh for cross-LoC bus and trade’’, sources said, adding that Pakistan army committed most inhuman act when they even didn’t allow an injured Army soldier Rajinder Singh to be evacuated from the forward post in Nangi Tekri area of Krishna Ghati sector leading to his killing and injuries to three jawans, who had gone to the spot to evacuate him.
Sources said the civil administration has also sent a detailed report of PoK authorities’ refusal to open gates at Chakan-Da-Bagh for cross-LoC bus service and trade.
Though the bus and the trade had earlier also been suspended for different reasons, this was for the first time that PoK authorities didn’t open the gates due to firing on the LoC.
Ceasefire between India and Pakistan Armies had come into force in November 2002 and since then it has been holding barring few exceptions from Pakistan side, which generally opened firing to push infiltrators into this side. However, this was after a long gap that Pakistan army violated ceasefire without facilitating the infiltration bid on the LoC.
Sources said during four days of firing by Pakistan army on June 13, 14, 16 and 17, no movement of infiltrators was spotted in any side of Krishna Ghati.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan army had also used mortars, rockets, Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGLs) and heavy machine guns in the firing on forward Indian posts in Krishna Ghati sector.