By Abu Arqam Naqash
MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan, Nov 23 – Indian shelling across the frontier into Pakistani-controlled Kashmir hit a bus, killing at least nine people, with three Pakistani soldiers killed in cross-border firing, Pakistani officials said, as tension between the neighbours simmers.
Describing the bus incident, senior police official Jamil Mir put the tally of dead at nine. He told Reuters four bodies were taken to a nearby hospital while five were still trapped in the bus.
Pakistan has also said its military killed seven Indian soldiers on Wednesday.
Pakistan’s military media wing, ISPR, put the death toll from the bus shelling at seven, adding that three Pakistani soldiers were killed “while responding to Indian unprovoked firing.”
Lawat, where the bus was hit, is 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-held Kashmir, in the upper belt of the Neelum Valley that straddles the de facto border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Indian officials did not comment on the deaths, but a military spokesman said the Pakistani Army initiated “indiscriminate” firing on Wednesday morning on Indian Army posts in Bhimber Gali, Krishna Ghati and Nawshera sectors.
Relations between nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India have been strained for several months, while cross-frontier shelling has intensified leading to deaths of civilians and soldiers stationed along the disputed frontier.
Kashmir lies at the heart of the tension. The countries have fought two of their three wars over the region since partition and independence from Britain in 1947.