Pakistan’s officials say a Pakistani school bus driver was killed after Indian troops opened fire across the two countries’ de facto border in the disputed region of Kashmir.
Local official Sardar Zeeshan Nisar said on Friday that the latest cross-border fire, which occurred along the Line of Control (LoC), also wounded several children. “A shell landed near a school bus in Mohra village of Nakyal sector, leaving the driver dead and eight children wounded.”
The Pakistani army’s media wing said in a statement that the firing was a violation of a 2003 ceasefire.
It added that Pakistani troops responded to unprovoked Indian firing in the area. “Pakistani troops effectively responded and targeted Indian posts from where fire was coming.”
Indian and Pakistani forces have been engaged in clashes in the disputed region over the past months. Each side accuses the other of provocation.
In recent months, authorities on both sides closed hundreds of schools along frontier areas due to the ongoing cross-border shooting.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained in the recent months, with New Delhi blaming Islamabad for a raid on an army base in Indian-controlled Kashmir in September, which killed 19 soldiers.
The Indian army blamed Pakistan-based militants for the assault. Islamabad denies any role in the deadly assault.
Diplomatic tensions heightened between the two sides in late October, when India ordered one employee of the Pakistani High Commission out of the country, saying he was a suspected spy. Islamabad expelled an Indian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move.
In addition, Pakistan has recently accused eight Indian diplomats of conducting acts of “espionage and terrorism” against Islamabad.
Meanwhile, security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir have used tear gas to disperse protesters as they chanted pro-independence slogans.
Hundreds of protesters gathered near a main mosque in the capital city of Srinagar and chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans after Friday prayers.
The angry demonstrators also hurled stones at Indian forces.
The region has been the scene of protests and tight security since early July when Indian forces killed a leading pro-independence fighter.
The protests have left nearly 90 civilians and two policemen dead and thousands more injured.
Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan, but claimed in full by both, since the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947.
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