MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Border guards from Pakistan and neighboring India continued trading fire Wednesday in the divided region of Kashmir, violence that killed two Pakistani villagers, officials said.
Local police official Mohammad Waseem said one person was killed by Indian shelling Tuesday and another died Wednesday when a shell struck her home in the Nakial sector in Kashmir.
School shut down Wednesday in the Pakistan’s Nakial sector over the shelling, said Javed Budhanvi, a minister in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir. He said hundreds of villagers fled to safer places.
The latest skirmishes come ahead of an Aug. 23 meeting between security advisers from both countries in New Delhi. The violence has prompted the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ask India and Pakistan to exercise restraint.
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Both sides blamed each other for beginning the fire. Lt. Col. Manish Mehta, an Indian army spokesman, blamed Pakistani army for starting the “unprovoked firing” Wednesday, saying Pakistani soldiers fired machine guns and mortar rounds and that Indian troops retaliated.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday summoned an Indian diplomat to lodge a protest against what it called the “unprovoked cease-fire violations” by Indian troop in Kashmir. It said Pakistan urged India to immediately stop the violations and observe the 2003 cease-fire.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, two rival nuclear-armed nations, both of which claim the entire region.
The two have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, though the 2003 cease-fire has largely held despite small but regular firefights.