Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: The intriguing incident in which four Pakistani soldiers were killed in an ambush by unidentified “miscreants” on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control last Thursday, will help Islamabad rebut Indian claims that the Pakistan Army, or elements in it, are once again assisting cross-LoC infiltration.

Military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said the identity of the “miscreants” involved in the incident in the Hajra sector of Rawalakot, was not known.

“The attackers disappeared after dark, and we could not really trace them or get hold of them,’ he said. The Pakistan Army often uses the term “miscreants” to denote militants.

He said the four dead soldiers – one non-commissioned officer and three sepoys – were buried on Friday, while three others were undergoing treatment for injuries.

Unusually, immediately after the incident, the Pakistan Army made it a point to clear Indian troops of blame for the firing.

The incident came four days before India and Pakistan are to hold a meeting of the joint anti-terror mechanism, through which both sides are supposed to share information for the investigation and prevention of terrorist incidents.

India’s concern

The Indian claim of increased infiltration across the LoC is bound to be raised in the meeting, officials said.

In the last three months, India has several times conveyed to Pakistan its concern at the incidents on the LoC, claiming that Pakistani troops at the border provided logistical support to infiltration attempts by militants.

New Delhi has also been concerned about the recent increase in the activities of banned groups in Pakistan.

Aside from the diplomatic representations on these concerns, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who visited here last month, is also said to have conveyed in his meetings with the Pakistani leadership, including to President Pervez Musharraf, that further progress in the peace process would be endangered by a spike in such activities.