Pakistan summoned India’s deputy high commissioner in Islamabad Sunday after five civilians were killed by “unprovoked” Indian fire across the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region. In a separate ‘goodwill gesture’ it also released scores of Indian fishermen held for illegal fishing in its territorial waters.
The Foreign Ministry said J.P. Singh was summoned a day after Pakistan’s military said Indian forces had shelled two areas. India said Pakistani shelling across the Line of Control killed an off-duty soldier and his wife, calling it an “unprovoked” violation of a 2003 cease-fire agreement.
The two nuclear-armed rivals have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which both claim in its entirety, since gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1947. The Himalayan region is split between Indian and Pakistani-controlled zones separated by the heavily militarized Line of Control.
Also on Sunday, Pakistan released 78 Indian fishermen in the southern port city of Karachi. The fishermen were held for illegally fishing in Pakistani waters last year, said Muhammad Naseem Siddiqui, a government official.
Siddiqui said they were held in various jails and were being released as a “goodwill gesture” by the Pakistan government. He said they boarded a train bound for Lahore under police escort where they will be handed over to Indian authorities yesterday at the Wagah border crossing.
India and Pakistan regularly arrest each other’s fishermen for illegal fishing in their poorly delineated territorial waters, often detaining them for months. AP