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September 17, 2019
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Pakistan Army says another soldier killed in Indian firing at LoC

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army said Indian troops killed another Pakistani soldier in firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region.

The latest killing brought the the death toll to six in less than 24 hours.

On Thursday, Pakistan said at least three of its soldiers and five Indian soldiers were killed, in addition to two civilians on the Pakistan side, after a cross-border exchange of fire in the disputed region. However, New Delhi denied that there was any fatality among its forces.

In a tweet on Friday, Pakistan army spokesman General Asif Ghafoor said “another brave son of soil lost his life in the line of duty” in Buttal town.

“Intermittent exchange of fire continues,” Ghafoor tweeted on Thursday.

He confirmed to Al Jazeera that the casualty figure on Thursday included three civilians.

An Indian army spokesperson denied the Pakistani army’s statement on Thursday. “No casualties. This assertion is wrong,” the spokesperson said.

The Indian army said that from about 7am Pakistan violated a ceasefire between the two nations in the heavily militarised LoC.

The developments come during a period of increasing tensions between India and Pakistan after New Delhi’s Hindu nationalist government last week revoked special status for Indian-administered Kashmir.

The decision by India blocks the right of the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir to frame its own laws and allows non-residents to buy property there.

Telephone lines, internet and television networks have been blocked and there are restrictions on movement and assembly.

UNSC move

The UNSC is due to meet behind closed doors on Friday at the request of China and Pakistan to discuss India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, diplomats said.

Any action by the 15-member council is unlikely as the United States traditionally backs India and China supports Pakistan.

“Pakistan will not provoke a conflict. But India should not mistake our restraint for weakness,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote in a letter to the UNSC on Tuesday.

“If India chooses to resort again to the use of force, Pakistan will be obliged to respond, in self-defense, with all its capabilities.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on India and Pakistan to refrain from any steps that could affect the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Guterres also said he was concerned about reports of restrictions on the Indian side of Kashmir.

The council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over the region, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of the mostly Muslim Kashmir.

Another resolution also calls upon both sides to “refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation”.