By Associated Press - Sunday, September 13, 2020

ISLAMABAD (AP) - An 11-year-old Pakistani girl was killed and four other villagers critically wounded by Indian troops firing into the Pakistan-administered part of the disputed region of Kashmir, Pakistan’s military said Sunday.

The military said the “unprovoked firing” by India troops using long-range guns and artillery targeted the Pakistani border villages of Hotspring and Rakhchikri on Friday night along the so-called Line of Control in Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety.

Pakistan and India often trade fire along the highly militarized frontier in the disputed Himalayan region, with both blaming the other side for initiating the firing.

The Pakistani military said a 75-year-old woman was among the four civilians wounded Friday. The military said its forces responded by firing at Indian army posts, without elaborating.

Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesman, said Pakistani soldiers on Saturday and Sunday targeted several Indian military positions along the disputed border. He said on both days Pakistani soldiers initiated the firing and shelling, to which Indian soldiers “retaliated befittingly,” and that there were no casualties on the Indian side.

Pakistan’s foreign office said it had summoned India’s diplomatic representative to protest the cross-border firing.

In June, Pakistani officials blamed Indian troops for killing four villagers in the Pakistan region of Kashmir. Days later, they said Indian shelling again killed a 13-year-old-girl and wounded her mother and brother.

Tensions have soared between Pakistan and India since August 2019, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government revoked Muslim-majority Kashmir’s decades-old semi-autonomous status, touching off anger in Indian-controlled Kashmir and in Pakistan.

Since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, the two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

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