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Amid rising tensions between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, six Pakistani citizens succumbed to injuries and attained martyrdom due to heavy Indian shelling on the Working Boundary on Friday. The incident took place in Charwa and Harpal sectors; the casualties included four women while 20 people have been afflicted with injuries.

DG ISPR, Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted about the incident on Friday. “Indian brutality on World Peace Day martyred six innocent Pakistanis, injured 26 along the working boundary in Chappar/Harpal/Charwa Sector,” Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted.

This comes a day after 4 civilians including two women were martyred by mortar shelling by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF). Giving out more details of the blatant violation today, the ISPR said 26 people, including 15 women and five children, sustained injuries in the attack. The Punjab Rangers responded effectively and befittingly to Indian aggression.

The Indian forces have resorted to mortar shelling on the Sialkot-Jammu line since the past two days, targeting civilians including women and children. The gory violation came hours after Pakistan’s premier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi warned India not to take Pakistan’s restraint as a sign of weakness as the country will respond punitively to all acts of aggression.

Targeting across the Working Boundary is an act of war. The dangers of an escalation from tactical engagement to an all-out war with nuclear undertones will come to the fore if the Working Boundary remains hot

Despite rising tensions between the two countries, the Working Boundary has remained quiet since the past one year. The Working Boundary separates Sialkot (recognized Pakistani territory) from Indian Held Kashmir (Disputed); the Indians call it the International Border(IB).

Read more: Human rights abuses in Indian Occupied Kashmir (Part 1)

The opening up of the front on the Working Boundary does not come as a surprise. The LoC has remained hot since 2016; India has also ramped up its intentions to “militarily” teach Pakistan a lesson. Earlier this month, GOC-C of the Indian Army Northern Command, Lt Gen Devraj Anbu warned that his forces would cross the LoC in hot pursuit.

Given that Sialkot is a legitimate Pakistani territory, further violations on the Working Boundary will exert more pressure on the escalation ladder than what skirmishes on the LoC put

Though the violations have not taken place in the AOR of the Northern Command nor on the LoC, it reflects India’s willingness and intentions to inflict pressure on Pakistan. The idea is to exert compelling pressures on the Pakistani military. Targeting civilian areas may have a tactical advantage given that Pakistan’s response can be sold as an act of aggression. The Indian forces seemingly want to put the burden of escalation on Pakistan.

If the idea is to punish Pakistan while getting away defies military logic. The map depicts the importance of Sialkot and its adjoining areas. Given that Sialkot is a legitimate Pakistani territory, further violations on the Working Boundary will exert more pressure on the escalation ladder than what skirmishes on the LoC put.

Read more: Situation on the LoC: Indian Army flexing its muscles

The opening up of the front on the Working Boundary does not come as a surprise. The LoC has remained hot since 2016; India has also ramped up its intentions to “militarily” teach Pakistan a lesson

While the Western Command of the Indian Army may find breaching the Working Boundary tactically more feasible but it will have the definite risk of escalation since the Pakistani side of the boundary comprise legal and recognized territories.

Targeting across the Working Boundary is an act of war. The dangers of an escalation from tactical engagement to an all-out war with nuclear undertones will come to the fore if the Working Boundary remains hot. With cities under threat, Pakistan’s nuclear threshold will be lowered.Moreover, the likelihood of Islamabad employing Tactical Nuclear Weapons cannot be ruled out at a later stage, should the confrontation continues in the given area.

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