Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K’s Poonch; educational institutions closed along LOC

The Pakistani Army on Thursday heavily shelled forward posts along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, drawing retaliation from the Indian Army, as per reports.

Both countries exchanged heavy fire, Defence Ministry spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand told reporters in Jammu.

“At around 6 am today, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by shelling mortars and firing small arms along the Krishna Ghati sector,” said Anand, adding that the Indian army retaliated strongly and effectively. The firing exchanges stopped after an hour, he said.

Mendhar and Balakote sectors in the state also witnessed heavy shelling through Wednesday night, NDTV reported. Pakistan Rangers had allegedly violated ceasefire in Mendhar and Krishna Ghati sectors in Rajouri on Wednesday.

Authorities have shut down all educational institutions within five kilometres of the Line of Control and the International Border in the districts of Rajouri, Poonch and Samba.

The exchange of fire took place a day after Pakistani jets allegedly violated Indian airspace, and claimed to have shot down two Indian Air Force aircraft. Pakistan also claimed that it captured an IAF pilot. India has refuted the claim of its jet being downed and said it downed a Pakistani F-16 jet.

The Pakistani violation on Wednesday was in retaliation to an IAF strike in Balakote, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan on Tuesday, to eliminate a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp.