Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 June 2019

Pakistanis sign petition seeking Nobel Peace Prize for Imran Khan

Eight killed in renewed fighting in disputed Kashmir

People shout slogans near the India-Pakistan border in Wagah as they wait for the return of an Indian Air Force pilot being returned by Pakistan. AFP
People shout slogans near the India-Pakistan border in Wagah as they wait for the return of an Indian Air Force pilot being returned by Pakistan. AFP

Indian and Pakistani soldiers targeted each other's posts and villages along the volatile frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing at least six civilians and two Pakistani troops.

The renewed violence comes as more than 300,000 people signed an online petition calling for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to receive a Nobel Peace Prize after he freed an Indian pilot in a bid to defuse tensions with neighbouring India.

The capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman became the focus of hostilities between the nuclear-armed rivals following airstrikes on Wednesday.

The strikes followed a suicide bombing in Kashmir last month claimed by Pakistan-based militants which killed 40 Indian paramilitaries.

The hashtag #NobelPeaceForImranKhan began trending on Twitter on Thursday after Mr Khan unexpectedly announced that the captured pilot would be released as a "peace gesture".

Pakistan's information minister Fawad Chaudhry Saturday also submitted a resolution in the country's parliament demanding Khan be given the award for his contribution to peace in the region.

"Imran Khan played a sagacious role in de-escalating tension between Pakistanand India," the resolution said.

But fighting resumed overnight on Friday and Saturday. Pakistan's military said two of its soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian forces near the Line of Control that separates Kashmir between the rivals. It marked the first fatalities for Pakistani troops since Wednesday.

Indian police, meanwhile, said two siblings and their mother were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The three died after a shell fired by Pakistani soldiers hit their home in the Poonch region near the Line of Control. The children's father was critically wounded.

In Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, government official Umar Azam said Indian troops with heavy weapons "indiscriminately targeted border villagers" along the Line of Control, killing a boy and wounding three other people. He said several homes were destroyed by Indian shelling, the Associated Press agency reported.

Updated: March 2, 2019 09:44 PM

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