‘The world is silent’: Villagers in AJK’s Chakothi tired of living dangerously along the LoC – Pakistan

The villagers in Chakothi, Azad Jammu and Kashmir are frustrated to live with the constant fear of fighting along the heavily militarized Control Line (LoC) in the disputed Himalayan region.

Their situation has been exacerbated since the government of India, led by the Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata, imposed a security blockade and a communications blackout right on the Chakothi border in Kashmir occupied by India, which is mostly Muslim .

The move followed the decision of the Indian government on August 5 to reduce the autonomy of the region, raise tensions with Islamabad and unleash anger in occupied Kashmir.

Watch: How India is trying to portray & # 39; calm, normal & # 39; in occupied Kashmir enclosed

"India has been killing our brothers and sisters in Kashmir occupied by India and the world is silent," Mohammad Nazir Minhas, 65, told reporters on Thursday. “It forces us to say that freedom will come only through war. We are ready."

Pakistani troops patrol near the Control Line in the Chakothi sector in AJK on Thursday. – AFP

The military escorted journalists to the village in AJK to show them the plight of the villagers living along the LoC. From where Minhas was, you could see an Indian post without using binoculars.

India said Thursday it has information that Pakistan is trying to infiltrate "terrorists" in the country to carry out attacks amid growing tensions between the two countries.

Pakistan's army spokesman, Major General Asif Ghafoor, rejected Indian claims and said that Pakistan was a responsible state and that "we would be crazy if we allowed infiltration" through the LoC.

Minhas, who said he lost his daughter in 1971 when a soldier who shot from the Indian side shot him in the chest, is among local residents who say they often spend sleepless nights due to nearby skirmishes between Pakistani forces and Indian

Restrictions on occupied Kashmir have been slowly eased, with the reopening of some companies, the restoration of some fixed telephone services and some elementary schools that teach again, although the attendance of students and teachers has been low.

Read also: Kashmir accuses Indian security forces of carrying out beatings and torture in occupied Kashmir

This image taken from a Pakistani security post shows an Indian flag waving over a military post near the LoC in the Chakothi sector in AJK. – AFP

But tensions between India and Pakistan are high.

"Even last night, there was an intense exchange of gunshots here," said Mohammad Salman, 75, a Chakothi resident while standing in the middle of a desert market. The market is about 200 meters from the "Friendship Bridge" in the region, which opened for a long-awaited bus service in 2005.

Pakistan suspended bus service and trade with India in response to changes in August 5 in the state of Kashmir by New Delhi. The government also expelled the Indian ambassador and closed the train service to and from India.

The government has indicated that it could soon close its airspace for Indian overflights, forcing them to take longer routes.

AJK residents praise these measures, but complain that the government never built community bunkers to protect them from shooting on the Indian side.

"When our children go out to play, we don't know if they will return alive when India opens fire mercilessly," said Mohammad Sajid, 45, while standing in a nearby mosque.

The girls return home from school near the LoC in the Chakothi sector, in AJK on Thursday. – AFP

Authorities say a mortar fired through the LoC hit a house in the village of Kail a day earlier, killing three civilians.

Pakistan's army says it only returns fire when there is a violation of the ceasefire by India.

"Our response is always measured and we only aim at Indian posts from where fire hits our civilian population," Major General Ghafoor told reporters. He said Pakistani troops cannot "return the fire ruthlessly as the Indians do" because it could cause civilian casualties on the other side of Kashmir, where divided families live.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming insurgent groups that have been fighting since 1989 for the independence of Kashmir from India or its merger with Pakistan, a charge that Islamabad denies. Pakistan says it only provides moral and diplomatic support to these groups.

Most cashmere support the demand that the territory be united under the Pakistani government or as an independent country, while participating in civil street protests against Indian control.

Chakothi villagers say they are waiting for the moment when they "will ruin the Control Line" to raise the Pakistan flag in Srinagar, the main city of occupied Kashmir.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1502598/the-world-is-silent-villagers-in-ajks-chakothi-tired-of-living-dangerously-along-the-loc


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