Pakistan: trading fire with India after 'unprovoked' attack

ISLAMABAD (AP) " Pakistan's military on Wednesday accused India of another "unprovoked" attack in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, saying it "befittingly" responded by returning fire, a sign of increasing tension between the two nuclear-armed archrivals.

In a statement, the military said Pakistani and Indian troops were still exchanging fire in Kashmir.

An Indian army officer said Pakistani troops fired small arms and mortars at Indian military positions at three places along the Line of Control. The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the reporters, said Indian soldiers "befittingly responded to unprovoked cease-fire violations."

No casualties were reported.

The latest fighting took place as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended a joint sitting of the Senate and the National Assembly convened to discuss the Kashmir situation.

In a televised speech, Sharif criticized India for a Sept. 28 attack that killed two Pakistani soldiers. New Delhi said it was a "surgical strike" against militants, which Pakistan denied. Sharif said India had broken the cease-fire agreement, and the Pakistani military had responded "effectively" by returning fire.

Pakistan would respond strongly to any threat to its sovereignty, Sharif said. He blamed India for the rising tensions between the two countries but said he wanted to resolve the Kashmir dispute through talks.

"We are against war, we want durable peace in the region," he said.

Sharif told lawmakers that Islamabad will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the "freedom movement" in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Several lawmakers also made speeches condemning what they described as human rights violations in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where security forces have killed dozens of protesters at anti-India rallies in recent months.

Also Wednesday, Hafiz Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, attended a meeting of religious parties to express support for the Kashmiri people. The meeting vowed to hold a rally against India near the border between the two countries, known as the Line of Control, on Oct. 27.

Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India and is claimed by both. Many in the Indian-controlled portion favor independence or a merger with Pakistan.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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