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Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over deadly cross-border shelling in disputed Kashmir

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ISLAMABAD/MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan’s government on Monday summoned India’s top diplomat in the country over accusations of deadly shelling by India in its portion of the disputed region of Kashmir, as tensions run high between the nuclear-armed rival nations.

A 60-year old woman and 13-year old boy were killed and three wounded in shelling over the Line of Control (LOC), near the informal border with India, on Saturday and Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.

“The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” said Pakistan’s foreign ministry statement, adding that its spokesman had summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to condemn the incident.

A spokesman for India’s foreign ministry said it had no immediate comment on the matter.

India and Pakistan both accuse each other of breaching a 2003 ceasefire agreement by shelling and firing over the LOC, killing dozens this year.

India has also accused Pakistan of providing support for militants on its territory, a claim Pakistan denies.

The latest incident comes amid tension between the neighbours that escalated sharply following New Delhi’s move to revoke the autonomy of its portion of Kashmir in August.

Pakistan expelled India’s ambassador and suspended bilateral trade soon after and launched an international diplomacy campaign in an attempt to draw global condemnation of India’s treatment of Kashmiris.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan made an impassioned address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, saying there would be a bloodbath once India lifts a curfew and that any all-out conflict between the nations would reverberate far beyond their borders.

Both India and Pakistan control Kashmir in part while claiming it in full. India says its revocation of autonomy is an internal matter that will allow its portion of Kashmir to develop economically.

At home, Khan faced the risk that rising anger in his country’s portion of the disputed region could spiral into a confrontation with India as calls gathered for Kashmiris to storm the LOC.

A spokesman for a Kashmiri separatist group said on Monday that it was planning a large march in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on October 4, followed by an attempt to cross the LOC, in which tens of thousands were expected to take part.

“If law enforcement agencies stopped us…we will stage a sit-in there because we are peaceful and unarmed people,” said Rafiq Dar, spokesman for the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

Pakistan’s military has said it will not allow anyone to cross the LOC.

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in ISLAMABAD and Abu Arqam Naqash in MUZAFFARABAD; Additional reporting by Zeba Siddiqui and Devjyot Ghoshal in NEWDELHI; Editing by Peter Graff)

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