Indian forces on Friday “specifically targeted” a United Nations vehicle carrying two officers of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) from across the Line of Control, in what the Foreign Office termed a “new low” in their conduct.

The incident occurred at around 10:45 am when Indian border forces resorted to “unprovoked firing” in the Chirikot sector in Azad Jammu and Kashmir along the LoC, FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told a weekly press briefing.

The officers were on their way to Polas village to meet with the victims of Indian ceasefire violations when they came under fire. The UN vehicle was damaged but the officers remained unhurt, the FO spokesperson said.

The officers were immediately evacuated by the Pakistan Army and brought back to the UNMOGIP field station in Rawalakot. “The reprehensible act of unprovoked firing by India on the UNMOGIP officers is indicative of a new low in the conduct of Indian occupation troops,” Chaudhry said.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the continuing CFVs by India in clear violation of international law; the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding; and against all established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct,” the spokesperson added.

He noted that India had committed 2,992 ceasefire violations so far this year alone, resulting in 27 deaths and serious injuries to 249 civilians, including 92 women and 68 children. He called upon India to respect the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding, investigate the incidents of deliberate ceasefire violations, and maintain peace along the LoC and the Working Boundary (WB).

“Pakistan also urges India to allow the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan to play its mandated role as per the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions,” Chaudhry said.

The heavily militarised LoC that splits the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir has been witnessing skirmishes and artillery duels in a serious breach of a truce agreement that the rival armies had signed in November 2003.

Last month, five civilians and a Pakistan Army soldier were martyred in Indian firing from across the restive LoC in several areas of AJK. At least 30 other civilians and five soldiers had also sustained injuries in the ceasefire violations in what was the biggest escalation in hostilities on the de facto border in months.