Pak claims Indian Army fired upon UN vehicle across LoC

Pakistan claims Indian Army fired upon UN vehicle across LoC, New Delhi dismisses allegation

Sources in New Delhi said that since movements of UN vehicles are known ahead of time, there is no question of any such firing

Representative image. Credit: PTI Photo

India on Friday dismissed Pakistan’s allegation that its soldiers fired across the Line of Control (LoC) targetting a vehicle of United Nations (UN) military observers.

The Pakistan Army alleged that Indian Army personnel guarding the LoC resorted to “unprovoked firing” and “deliberately targetted” a UN vehicle. The incident took place at Chirikot Sector of the LoC. Two officials of the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) were in the vehicle when it came under fire from Indian Army posts across the LoC, Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, the spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, stated. He added that the officials had luckily remained unhurt and had been evacuated from the scene later.

India dismissed the allegation by the Pakistan Army, with a source in New Delhi terming it “completely false and factually incorrect”. There was no firing from the Indian Army or the border guarding personnel on Friday in the place the Pakistan Army mentioned as the scene of the incident. “Since movements of UN vehicles are known in advance, the question does not arise of any such firing. The allegations are baseless,” said the source in New Delhi.

Islamabad alleged that the UNMOGIP officials had been on their way to Polas, a village in Pakistan close to the LoC with India. They had been going to the village to meet the victims of the firing by the Indian Army personnel, who violated the ceasefire along the LoC and showered bullets on the border hamlet, alleged Maj Iftikhar of the Pakistan Army.

“It must be noted that the UN vehicles are clearly recognisable even from long distances due to their distinct make and type and clearly visible markings,” the Pakistan Army spokesperson stated, apparently in support of his claim that the Indian Army personnel deliberately targetted it. Major Iftikhar also posted on Twitter pictures of the UN vehicle, marked with ‘UN’ and several bullet marks on it.

“The reprehensible act of unprovoked firing by India on the UNMOGIP officers is indicative of a new low in the conduct of Indian occupation troops,” Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, the spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Pakistani Government, said in Islamabad.

New Delhi does not recognize the UNMOGIP as it maintains that the mandate of the group had lapsed after India and Pakistan in 1972 signed the Simla Agreement, which left it to the two neighbouring nations to resolve disputes bilaterally with no scope for interference by any third party, not even the UN. India restricted access to its side of the LoC for UNMOGIP.

Pakistan, however, grants access to UN observers to its side of the de facto border with India. Islamabad also often lodges complaints with the UNMOGIP about the alleged violation of ceasefire by the Indian Army along the LoC and its firing on Pakistan Army posts as well as civilians living in border villages in Pakistan.

UN sources said that the UNMOGIP had reported that its vehicle had been impacted by an “unidentified object” and “sustained some damage”, although its officials and the driver had not been harmed. The UNMOGIP was currently investigating the incident, said the sources in the international organisation.