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Two Pakistani civilians die in Indian border fire

Pakistani officials on Saturday (Aug 23) accused Indian troops of killing two civilians in "unprovoked firing" across the border in its eastern province of Punjab.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani officials on Saturday (Aug 23) accused Indian troops of killing two civilians in "unprovoked firing" across the border in its eastern province of Punjab. India and Pakistan often accuse each other of violating a 2003 ceasefire agreement. The two countries have fought three wars, two of them over the divided and disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistani officials said the latest incident occurred in Sialkot region which faces the south of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and where another civilian was killed by Indian firing last month.

"Today Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) again resorted to unprovoked firing in Chaprar and Harpal sectors on the working boundary near Sialkot. Two civilians including a woman and a 60-year-old man were martyred due to BSF firing," a senior military official said. "Intermittent exchange of fire is still continuing at this moment."

Last month, Indian police also accused the Pakistani army of killing a soldier and wounding seven other people during firing along the border in the same region. On Aug 8, Pakistan freed an Indian soldier captured after he was swept into the Pakistani zone of Kashmir when his patrol boat capsized.

However on Aug 11 both countries again exchanged accusations of cross-border firing. The Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided and administered separately by India and Pakistan but claimed by both in full. Since 1989 fighting between Indian forces and rebels seeking independence or merger of the territory with Pakistan has killed tens of thousands, mostly civilians.

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