Pakistani officials evacuated more than 50 Chinese nationals working near the Kashmir frontier, authorities said Wednesday, after skirmishes with India killed at least three people and injured dozens.
The Chinese were working on a dam being constructed in Pakistani Kashmir along the confluence of the Neelum and Jhelum rivers when firing pushed authorities to move the workers late Tuesday, according to a senior local administration official Badar Munir.
Another local official Raja Shahid Mahmood said the decision was made after Indian security forces fired a volley of “indiscriminate fire that killed three people including a woman and a child and wounded 31 others during the last 24 hours”.
Mahmood said local mosques have also called on residents to refrain from unnecessary movements which would expose them to potential firing.
Pakistan’s military spokesman went on to say via Twitter that ceasefire violations “shall always be effectively responded” to, adding that security forces will “take all measures to protect innocent civilians” along the de-facto border.
Tensions remain high with arch-rival India after the nuclear armed neighbours launched tit-for-tat air strikes in February following a suicide bombing in Indian Kashmir which was claimed by Pakistan-based militants.
Since then they have stepped back from the brink, but firing between the two sides across the de-facto border dividing Kashmir has continued.
Kashmir is ruled in part but claimed in full by both countries, who have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over it.
The latest incident comes after US President Donald Trump Trump triggered a political fiasco in India last week by claiming during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan that Indian leader Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute.
India vehemently denied that Modi had made any such request, saying the Kashmir issue must be resolved bilaterally between the two countries.