Jammu/New Delhi: In a brazen violation of the 2003 ceasefire, Pakistani troops intruded into Jammu and Kashmir and killed two Indian soldiers by slitting their throats, officials said.
Pakistani soldiers, apparently from the 29 Baloch regiment, took advantage of a dense fog to sneak into an Indian post in Sona Gali area in the border district of Poonch.
A defence ministry spokesman said the incident took place at 11.30 a.m. “Pakistani soldiers killed two Indian soldiers, and mutilated the body of one. “We strongly condemn the brutality with which the body was treated,” the official said.
Pakistan denied responsibility for the killings but Indian officials dismissed the denial as a farce. Lt. Gen. K.D. Parnaik who later visited the spot asked the Indian Army to “stay alert and calm” and declared that “appropriate action will be taken at the appropriate time”.
Poonch Deputy Commissioner A.K. Sahu said the Pakistanis killed two Indian soldiers and wounded a third. “(The) Pakistani soldiers … slit the throats of two army soldiers.”
Army sources said the Pakistani troops took away the weapons of the dead Indians: Sudhakar Singh and Hemraj of 13 Rajputana Rifles.
The sources said the Pakistanis reached the post since it was located close to the fence near the LoC, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
The Indian Army has erected a three-tier fence in Indian territory running along the LOC. The fence is about 500 metres to two kilometres inside Indian territory and seeks to prevent Pakistani intrusion.
But the Pakistanis sneaked in using the fog in the forested area as a cover, an army spokesman said. “The (Indian) patrol spotted them and engaged the intruders” for about half hour after which the Pakistani troops retreated, he said.
The official termed the intrusion and killings as “yet another grave provocation by the Pakistan Army”. He said the latest attack was being taken up “sternly through official channels”.
The external affairs ministry said it was in touch with the defence ministry. The report of the Pakistani attack — which has the potential to derail India-Pakistan relations — came soon after India told Pakistan “to ensure that the sanctity of LoC is upheld at all times”.
Also Tuesday, Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Sialkot and asked the army to remain “fully prepared to respond to the full spectrum of threats, direct or indirect, overt or covert”.
He said Pakistan was putting in place a new concept of war fighting “evolved and validated in the Azm-e-Nau (New Resolve) series of war games and exercises”, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
The Indian external affairs ministry denied that Indian troops crossed the LoC in Rampur sector or violated the ceasefire in force since 2003 in the area as claimed by Islamabad. “India is committed to the sanctity of LoC,” he said, calling it the most important part of the India-Pakistan confidence-building measures. We call upon the Pakistan authorities to ensure that the sanctity of the LoC is upheld at all times.”
The spokesman was referring to an earlier incident which Pakistan says involved firing by Indian troops that left one of their soldiers dead. India says that the director generals of military operation of both countries were in touch over the earlier firing.
New Delhi says it were the Pakistani who triggered the earlier gun battle. Their “unprovoked firing on Indian troops” damaged the roof of a house in Churunda village. “Indian troops undertook controlled retaliation in response.”
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.
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