Poonch Encounter: More Arrests Reported, Pakistan Seeks Investigations In Zia’s Killing

SRINAGAR: Two brothers were among three persons who were arrested in the hilly Mendhar area in the ongoing encounter that rages in the mountains for more than a fortnight now. The arrests coincided with the Pakistan government summoned top Indian diplomat over the killing of a Pakistani prisoner, reports appearing in media said.

A photograph taken from a distance in Pir Panchal felt after Pakistani shells landed in the forests

On the seventeenth day of the encounter, the security grid has arrested three persons. “Those detained include Mohammad Arif, 24 and Mohammad Tariq, 22, both brothers and sons of Mohammad Rashid and Wahid Iqbal son of Mohammad Khurshid, all residents of Bhatta Durrian,” Jammu newspaper Daily Excelsior reported. “Nearly 20 persons have so far been detained. They include some women. Three persons were nabbed from Kathmandu in Nepal.”

All these arrests were reported to have been taken place for the allegations that the accused provided food and shelter to the militants.

The encounter saw in two different clashes – one each at Chamrer forests (Surankote) and Bhatta Durrian (Mendhar), the killing of nine soldiers including two JCOs. In another incident when the troops brought in a prisoner to help them locate the jungle dens, they were fired upon by the hiding militants that led to the death of Zia Mustafa, the militants who was in jail for 18 years, as two cops and a soldier survived injured.

It was in the killing of Pakistani prisoners that the top Indian diplomat was summoned by the Pakistan foreign office. Zia, a Lashkar recruit, was accused of being the mastermind of the Nadimarg massacre and guiding militants from the jail. “The Foreign Office on Wednesday summoned Indian Charge d’Affaires to register a strong protest on the killing of a Pakistani prisoner Zia Mustafa,” Pakistani newspaper, Express Tribune reported. “The Government of India was urged to urgently authenticate this particular incident, undertake a credible and transparent investigation into it, ensure justice, and hold the perpetrators to account.”

Meanwhile, Greater Kashmir reported that the security grid have recovered arms and ammunition from the site of ongoing encounter in Nar forest area of Bhata Dhurian. The recovery, according to SSP Poonch Dr Vinod Kumar includes one AK-47 (under-fold) with magazine, 29 AK rounds, 2 grenades, 4 biscuit packets, sling, socks, T-shirt full sleeve, Reebok jacket, blankets, tiffins, two pairs of shoes, one single shoe, 2 detonators and 2 syringes.

Offering an idea of the site where the entire security grid is involved, the report from Rajouri aid the pine forest has two Brookes flowing through it and the surroundings are have some natural caves and hides. The

Forest is surrounded by security establishments – an establishment of Territorial Army on one side, Rashtriya Rifles on the other side; on the opposite side – a high-security establishment of a brigade and on its north-west side a police station. “Notwithstanding it, this forest area has become a safer zone for militants, hiding there for the last around two weeks and engaged in a gun-battle but still away from the hands of forces,” the report said.

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