Pakistan downs Indian spy drone in AJK

Tariq Naqash Dawn

MUZAFFARABAD: The Pakistan Army on Friday said it had shot down an Indian ‘spy drone’ along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as tensions continued to flare between the two countries amid unrelenting ceasefire violations at the heavily-militarised de facto border.

“Indian quadcopter spying across LoC in Rakhchikri sector shot down by Pakistan Army shooters,” tweeted Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The Rakhchikri sector falls in AJK’s Poonch and Haveli districts.

The ISPR chief also tweeted pictures of the wreckage which, he said, had been seized by the army.

Immediately, there were no further details as to how deep the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) had intruded into this side of the LoC.

It’s not the first time a spy drone has been shot down in AJK. On Nov 19 last year, a UAV was downed in the same sector when it had intruded 60 metres into Pakistani airspace. A similar reconnaissance drone was downed for intruding into the Pakistani side in AJK’s Bhimber district on July 15, 2015.

Army sources say Indian military uses quadcopter for aerial photography of Pakistani posts along the LoC as part of its intelligence-gathering operations and target selection before carrying out cross-LoC shelling.

On June 10, 2002, an Israel-operated UAV launched from the Indian territory was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force near Kasur in Punjab.

Earlier, the ISPR chief condemned ceasefire violations by Indian troops across the LoC as well as their atrocities in held Kashmir.

The ceasefire violations — a serious breach of the November 2003 truce agreement — have been frequently causing civilian casualties in AJK.

According to State Disaster Management Authority officials, 40 civilians, mostly women and children, have lost their lives and 242 others suffered injuries in Indian shelling in different areas of AJK so far this year.

As per military figures, this year India violated ceasefire 1,140 times, which is the highest number of recorded truce breaches since 2003.

On Thursday, Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Zamirul Hassan Shah told the Senate’s defence committee that one reason behind intensified shelling on civilian population along the LoC by Indian troops could be to create an unpopulated buffer zone in the region.

Baqir Sajjad Syed in Islamabad also contributed to this report

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