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Pakistan and India exchange fire in Kashmir

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Pakistan and India have exchanged fresh fire along the de facto border that divides the disputed region of Kashmir, the Pakistani military said, as tensions rise between the nuclear-armed neighbouring countries.

"Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing" which started at 4:00 am (2300 GMT) and continued for four hours in Bhimber sector on the Pakistani side of the border, a Pakistani military statement said on Saturday, without mentioning any casualties. 

Later on Saturday, Pawan Kotwal, a top civilian official in Jammu and Kashmir state on the Indian side, said the exchange of fire had not caused any damage.

"There was small arms fire and mortar shells fire from across the border in Akhnoor sector which lasted for around two hours (4:00 am to 6:00 am)," Kotwal told AFP news agency.

"No damage was caused. We are ready for any eventuality but it is peaceful in Jammu region."

The skirmish came two days after India claimed it had carried out "surgical strikes" across the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border in the disputed territory, on what it called "terrorist" targets several kilometres inside Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The rare public admission of such action sparked furious rhetoric from Pakistan and calls for restraint from the US and the UN.

Tensions remain high between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the killing of 18 soldiers nearly two weeks ago.

"This is a dangerous moment for the region," Pakistan's Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told AFP after meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters in New York.

Ban on Friday offered to act as a mediator between New Delhi and Islamabad to defuse the tensions.

In a statement to AFP, India's mission to the UN said "India has no desire to aggravate the situation", and that "our response was a measured counter-terrorist strike".

On Friday, authorities in parts of northern India said they had started evacuating villages within 10 kilometres of the border following the raids earlier this week.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the two countries gained independence from British rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in its entirety.

Rebel groups have for decades fought Indian soldiers - currently numbering about 500,000 - demanding independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.

Bollywood ban

On Friday, Pakistani cinemas reportedly stopped screening Indian films in "solidarity" with the country's armed forces. 

"We have stopped screening Indian movies at our cinemas from Friday till the situation improves and normalcy returns," said Nadeem Mandviwalla, whose Mandviwalla Entertainment runs eight cinemas in Karachi and the capital, Islamabad. 

The Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association (IMPPA), a small filmmakers' body, on Thursday banned their members from hiring Pakistani actors. Mandviwalla and other cinema owners said the ban in Pakistan was also in response to IMPPA's move.

Indian media reported that a leader of the regional right-wing party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena last week gave Pakistani actors 48 hours to leave India or faced being "pushed out".

The party, which was not available for comment, has regularly called for Pakistani artists to be banned from working in India.

Edited by Sawa
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Given that the Pakistani authorities have an interest in controlling the flow of "unwanted" information coming out of the region, the BBC sought to verify details by speaking to local contacts in areas said to have been hit by the conflict.

All the areas were along the Line of Control (LoC) dividing the Indian and Pakistani controlled sides of Kashmir.

A police officer in the Poonch region told the BBC's Aurangzeb Jarral that Indian artillery targeted some Pakistani military posts across the Buttal region, and two Pakistani soldiers were killed.

In the Bhimber, Leepa and Neelum valley regions, several eyewitnesses reported cross-border shelling - but, crucially, none said they saw any aerial or ground incursions by Indian troops.


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9 minutes ago, Brained said:

Did you try burning/ransacking the local WAPDA office? 

They said there was an issue at Mangla Dam, I thought maybe India had cut off our water supply.

I want my BIJLI  back :sign_no::sign_no:

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The ongoing fracas has a very simple justification.

Indian army did some cross-border firing, the type that has been going on for as long as one remembers, and called it "surgical strike" to stir up hysteria in media and around the world. India knew Pakistan would respond. They got the response. 

All this is to deflect the new wave of uprising in Kashmir and to get the world talking about the prospect of another Indo-Pak war which may potentially turn nuclear. India is also trying to sell popular uprising as another version of Islamist militancy which the whole world is fighting against.

As to whether the attack on Indian army Uri base was done by militants who had crossed over from Pakistani side of Kashmir or whether they were locals from Indian Kashmir is open to speculation. Whatever claim either side makes it's impossible to confirm either way just from reading media reports.

Because neither the Pakistanis nor the Indians are known for telling the truth when it comes to skirmishes on LoC. Every time it happens both sides claim "unprovoked attack that was befittingly responded to." Journalists are not allowed to report independently in the conflict zone.

Edited by Marbles
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Why isn’t the world interested in Kashmir?
Owen Bennet-Jones:

"The economic disparity between India and Pakistan is also important. Most Western governments crave access to the Indian market. The more the Indian economy powers ahead, the more acute the craving. If Pakistan’s 200 million consumers had the wealth to buy significant amounts of Western goods then the country’s diplomats would find it easier to get heard."

"The Kashmiris face yet another problem. Independence movements associated with violent jihadism run counter to the post 9/11 policy of the great powers — Russia included — to resist Islamic extremism wherever they see it. Back in the late 1980s when the Kashmiri insurgency began, it was led by the predominately nationalist JKLF. Be­cause the latter was committed to Kashmiri inde­pendence rather than union with Pakis­tan, the security establishment decided to switch its support to a group with more pro-Pakistan sentiment and which it could more easily control: Hizbul Mujahideen. While the move made sense to those pro­moting the interests of the Pakistan state, it has coloured the Kashmiri movement ever since. And few in the inter­national com­m­u­nity are going to be very enthu­siastic about transferring power from the secular Indian government to local politicians in Kashmir who may, at some stage, be unable to resist the jihadists in their midst."

Read full: http://www.dawn.com/news/1288199/blip-on-the-radar

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