Pakistan: Indian cross-border fire kills girl in Kashmir

Above, a Pakistani security outpost along the so-called Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 13 September 2020

Pakistan: Indian cross-border fire kills girl in Kashmir

  • ‘Unprovoked firing’ targeted Pakistani border villages of Hotspring and Rakhchikri
  • Nuclear-armed neighbors each claim the divided Kashmir region in its entirety

ISLAMABAD: An 11-year-old girl was killed and four other villagers critically wounded by Indian troops firing into the Pakistani-administered side of the Kashmir region, Pakistan’s military said on Sunday.
The military said the “unprovoked firing” by India troops using long-range guns and artillery targeted the Pakistani border villages of Hotspring and Rakhchikri Friday night along the so-called Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
The Pakistani military said a 75-year-old woman was among the four civilians wounded. The military said its forces responded by firing at Indian army posts, without elaborating.
Pakistan’s foreign office said it summoned India’s diplomatic representative to protest the cross-border firing.
In June, Pakistani officials blamed Indian troops for killing four villagers in the Pakistan region of Kashmir. Days later, they said Indian shelling again had killed a 13-year-old-girl and wounded her mother and brother.
The nuclear-armed neighbors each claim the divided Kashmir region in its entirety. Pakistan and India often trade fire in the disputed Himalayan region, with both blaming the other side for initiating the fire.
They have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since independence from British rule in 1947.
Tensions have soared between Pakistan and India since August 2019, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government revoked Muslim-majority Kashmir’s decades-old semi-autonomous status, touching off anger in Indian-controlled Kashmir and in Pakistan.


Duterte: Hold me responsible for killings in Philippines’ drug crackdown

Updated 29 min 4 sec ago

Duterte: Hold me responsible for killings in Philippines’ drug crackdown

  • ‘If there’s killing there, I’m saying I’m the one ... you can hold me responsible for anything, any death that has occurred in the execution of the drug war’

MANILA: The Philippine president has said he accepts responsibility for the thousands of killings committed during police operations in his crackdown on drugs, adding that he was even ready to go to jail.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s televised remarks Monday night were typical of his bluster — and tempered by the fact that he has pulled his country out of the International Criminal Court, where a prosecutor is considering complaints related to the leader’s bloody campaign.
The remarks were also a clear acknowledgement that Duterte could face a deluge of criminal charges. Nearly 6,000 killings of drug suspects have been reported by police since he took office in mid-2016, but rights watchdogs suspect the death toll is far larger.
“If there’s killing there, I’m saying I’m the one ... you can hold me responsible for anything, any death that has occurred in the execution of the drug war,” Duterte said.
“If you get killed, it’s because I’m enraged by drugs,” said the president known for his coarse and boastful rhetoric. “If I serve my country by going to jail, gladly.”
He said, however, that drug killings that did not happen during police operations should not be blamed on him, alleging that those may have been committed by gangs.
Duterte has made a crackdown on drugs a centerpiece of his presidency. At the height of the campaign — which has often targeted petty dealers and users along with a handful of the biggest druglords — images of suspects sprawled dead and bloodied in the streets were frequently broadcast in TV news reports and splashed on the front pages of newspapers. Tens of thousands of arrests in the initial years of the crackdown worsened congestion in what were already among the world’s most overcrowded jails.
UN human rights experts and Western governments led by the United States have raised alarm over the killings, enraging Duterte, who once told former US President Barack Obama to “go to hell.”
There have been widespread suspicions that police engage in extrajudicial killings in the crackdown, allegations that they and Duterte deny. In 2018, a court convicted three police officers of murdering a 17-year-old student after witnesses and a security video disproved their claim that the suspect was shot after violently resisting, a common reason cited by police officers after drug suspects are killed.
At least two complaints for crimes against humanity and mass murder in connection with Duterte’s campaign are being examined by an ICC prosecutor, who will determine whether there is enough evidence to open a full-scale investigation.
When the complaints were made, Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the world tribunal two years ago in a move that human rights groups said was a major setback in the country’s battle against impunity. The ICC prosecutor has said the examination into the drug killings would continue despite the Philippine withdrawal.
Duterte reiterated his defiance of the court’s probe Monday by asking, when did “drugs become humanity?”
Instead, he framed the drug menace as a national security threat, as he has in the past, comparing it to the communist insurgency that the government has tried to quell for more than a half-century.
“If this is allowed to go on and on and if no decisive action is taken against them, it will endanger the security of the state,” said Duterte, a former government prosecutor.
“When you save your country from the perdition of the people like the NPAs and drugs, you are doing a sacred duty,” he said, referring to communist New People’s Army insurgents.
Police have reported at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since the start of the crackdown. Human rights groups have accused authorities of considerably under reporting the deaths.