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Pakistan blames India after villagers killed in shelling

At least six Pakistani villagers were killed and 26 wounded in an overnight cross-border shooting by India in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, Pakistan's military said.

The latest incident, first reported on Thursday night, came as Pakistan's prime minister accused New Delhi of committing 600 such ceasefire violations since January.

In his speech before the UN general assembly, prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged the United Nations to appoint a special envoy to Kashmir, and reiterated his accusations against India, saying New Delhi is "brutally suppressing" the struggle of the people in Kashmir.

The disputed Kashmir region is divided between Pakistan and India but claimed by both in its entirety.

In Friday's statement, army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said women and children were among the villagers who were killed or wounded in what he called "unprovoked" Indian shelling across the boundary in the Charwah and Harpal villages, on the Pakistani side.

Initially, the army on Thursday said four civilians had died from Indian fire in Kashmir.

In Srinagar, the main city of the Indian-controlled Kashmir, a paramilitary officer said there has been an exchange in fire and blamed Pakistani soldiers for initiating the firing and shelling.

In a statement, police in Srinagar also said that at least four villagers were wounded and several homes were damaged in the Indian-held sector after Pakistan violated the 2003 ceasefire accord by firing guns and mortar shells at Indian forward posts in Kashmir.

The police said the firing began on Thursday night and continued until Friday morning and that over 700 civilians living near the frontier were evacuated to safer places.

Pakistan and India have fought two wars over control of the disputed region since their independence from the UK in 1947.

AP

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