CHAMAN: At least three civilians were martyred, while several others were injured when Afghan border police opened fire on Frontier Corps Balochistan soldiers deployed for security of census team in Chaman early Friday, said Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Chaman Deputy Medical Superintendent Dr Akhtar.
Earlier, an Inter-Services Public Relations statement read one civilian was martyred in the firing.
18 people including four FC soldiers were injured in the unprovoked, cross-border firing and shelling by Afghan border police, the ISPR press release added.
The unprovoked firing by Afghan forces, with both light and heavy arms, began at 4 AM, security officials said. The firing was still continuing at the time of filing this report, according to the ISPR.
Pakistani security forces effectively responded to the firing and shelling from the Afghan side, security personnel said.
The injured reportedly include six children, two women and nine men. There have been reports of injuries to other civilians as well.
Large contingents of FC and Levies reached the area as soon as the vicinity came under heavy fire from across the border.
The injured were taken to the district hospital, where two critically injured persons were referred to Quetta, where emergency has been imposed at hospitals.
The doctors and paramedics at Bolan Medical Complex have been alerted, while additional staff was called for Quetta Civil Hospital.
However, there was a lack of ambulances in Chaman, where casualties are likely to increase in the villages situated near the border.
Moreover, the important routes in the areas have been closed, while the vehicles coming from the side of Quetta were stopped, said security officials.
The Quetta-Chaman road was blocked by security forces at various locations following the incident.
Even the 3G and 4G services were suspended in the area.
The census process in two villages near the border, Killi Jahangir and Killi Luqman, has been halted for the time being.
As per the ISPR press release, the Afghan border police had been creating hurdles in the census process since April 30 in the villages near Chaman.
This was done despite the fact that Afghan authorities had been informed well in advance and coordination was carried out through diplomatic and military channels for census, the statement read.
Friendship gate closed
The gate between both the countries on the Chaman border, Bab-e-Dosti was closed following firing from the Afghan border police.
Tensions between both the countries have resulted in the temporary closure of the gate in the past as well.
After the attack on the shrine in Sehwan, Sindh in February this year the border gate was closed. However, it was reopened and the move was welcomed by traders especially as the closure had caused losses to their businesses.
In June 2016, an army major was martyred and two Khasadar men wounded due to unprovoked firing by the Afghan border forces at Torkham border crossing.
The unprovoked fire had come at the time of construction of a gate inside Pakistani territory to check terrorists’ movement across the border.
The flare-ups at the border led to imposition of curfew in Landikotal and Torkham areas, restricting all sorts of transportation across the border.
Nine civilians, including women and children, were also wounded in the incident.
With additional input from our correspondent in Quetta