SULERIA, Pakistan (AP) — At least six Pakistani villagers were killed and 26 were wounded in an overnight attack by India in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, Pakistan’s military said Friday, adding that hundreds of villagers were forced to move to safer places.
The Indian army said in a statement that all violations of a 2003 cease-fire agreement in Kashmir have been initiated by Pakistani forces. The disputed Kashmir region is divided between Pakistan and India but both claim it in its entirety.
The attack, first reported Thursday night, came as Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi accused New Delhi of committing 600 such cease-fire violations since January.
In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Abbasi urged the United Nations to appoint a special envoy to Kashmir and reiterated his accusations against India, saying New Delhi is “brutally suppressing” the struggle of the people in Kashmir.
In Friday’s statement, Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor said women and children were among the villagers killed or wounded in what he called “unprovoked” Indian shelling across the boundary in the Charwah and Harpal villages on the Pakistani side.
In a statement, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the death toll was expected to rise as several wounded were in critical condition. Initially, the army said four Pakistani civilians had died in the attack.
An Associated Press photographer saw terrified residents living near the Kashmir frontier being evacuated to Suleria village and elsewhere in Sialkot district amid intermittent exchanges of fire between the two sides.
Zubaida Begum, 72, told The Associated Press from a hospital in the city of Sialkot that the Indian attack damaged homes in her village of Charwa. She said two of her relatives were killed in Thursday’s fire.
“Only we know with how much difficulty we fled our village and even we did not have time to lock our homes when we ran for shelter due to intense Indian shelling,” she said.
Mohammad Asim, 21, said many people left their villages in panic after Thursday’s firing.
“We could hear fire coming from India and we could also feel that the Pakistan army was retaliating. Both sides used heavy weapons,” he said from beside of his cousin, who was being treated at hospital after being hit with a bullet in the shoulder.
In New Delhi, the Indian army said in a statement that all cease-fire violations in Kashmir have been initiated by Pakistani forces and that India only responds to…