Tensions On Pakistan-India Border, 4 Killed In Artillery Blasts

Justin Streight

Both sides of the border have traded gun and artillery fire, the result of recent tensions between the Indian and Pakistani armies. The latest skirmish killed four, including a 13-year-old girl, and injured at least 10 in the Kashmir region.

According to ABC News, the fighting began on Friday night, near the city of Sialkot. Pakistani officials claim Indian forces were the first to violate the ceasefire with an unprovoked artillery barrage. Pakistani soldiers then returned fire over the border.

On the Indian side, the police claim Pakistani forces shelled the Kathua sector, killing a woman and injuring several others.

Border Security Force officer D. Parekh claims the firefight continued into Saturday in several different locations.

"One place goes quiet, the firing starts at another place," he explained.

Hundreds of people are now being evacuated as tensions continue to rise along the border. The latest fighting is proving to be the deadliest in a long-list of recent clashes between the two nuclear-armed countries. Al Jazeera reports the tension began in early October during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, when fighting killed nine people on each side of the border.

Politicians are also trading their own share of fire.

India's home minister Rajnath Singh says Pakistan is the one breaking the ceasefire and causing tension.

"We are stretching our hands for friendship with Pakistan but despite this we don't understand why the ceasefire is violated by Pakistan."

"Indian BSF yet again resorted to unprovoked firing on working boundary near Sialkot today," later adding, "13-years-old Sumaira, resident of... Zafarwal sector embraced martyrdom due to the firing [and] eight-year-old Mursaleen of... Shakargarh sector got injured."

This latest firefight comes after Pakistan protested the killing of two of its soldiers by Indian forces on Wednesday. That attack across the border also killed one Indian soldier.

Similarly, Indian officials reported that Pakistani fishing boat was engaged in illicit activities, but when the Indian coast guard tried to capture the ship for investigation, it exploded. The explosion killed all four members of the crew on board.

Pakistan's reaction to that report was a denial, explaining they had no way to independently verify the Indian account.

The uptick in fighting is nothing new for the two countries, especially in the border region of Kashmir. Tensions and fighting have defined the Pakistani-Indian relationship since independence in 1947.

[Image Credit: Heinrich Böll Stiftung/Wikimedia Commons]