The Pakistani army says it has targeted and destroyed an Indian military post in the disputed region of Kashmir, killing five soldiers stationed there in retaliation against alleged Indian sniper fire that killed a civilian.
According to statements on Friday by Pakistan’s Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor and other authorities, an Indian military post near the village of Tatta Pani was “destroyed” late Thursday after sniper fire earlier in the day targeted a school van carrying children in the Pakistani side of Kashmir, killing the driver and traumatizing the student passengers.
Ghafoor warned that Pakistani forces would continue to respond to “Indian terrorism against innocent citizens.”
The Indian army on Thursday denied that its forces had violated a cease-fire deal in place since 2003.
Pakistan also said that the gunfire targeted the school vehicle days after India alleged that gunmen from a Pakistan-based militant group staged an assault on an army camp in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
During the attack last Saturday, armed assailants stormed India’s Sunjuwan army camp and engaged the soldiers stationed there, killing five troops and one civilian living in the military installation as part of the community of relatives of army personnel.
The attack prompted New Delhi to warn Islamabad that it “would pay for this misadventure.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi censured the alleged targeting of the school van by India on Friday, saying, “Such unprovoked and unethical acts have exposed the real face of India, which continues to violate the Geneva Convention by targeting innocent school children.”
President of the Pakistani region of Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan also condemned what he referred to as India’s “aggression.” He further appealed to the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan, or UNMOGIP, to probe the alleged incident.
Pakistani and Indian troops regularly exchange fire in the restive Kashmir, each accusing the other of initiating fire and targeting civilians. In 2016, Indian artillery fire and shelling allegedly struck a passenger bus in Pakistani side of disputed Kashmir, killing 12 civilians.
The violence on Thursday marked the latest escalation in Kashmir, which has been divided between the two nuclear-armed neighbors since Britain ended its colonial rule of the region.
Since the partition 71 years ago, India and Pakistan have fought four wars, three of them over Kashmir. The majority of Kashmir’s population of nearly 12.5 million are Muslims.