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The Latest: Global Muslim body urges India, Pakistan to talk

March 2, 2019
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A family member of a Pakistani prisoner Shakir Ullah, who was killed by Indian inmates in an Indian jail, sits next to his body in an ambulance arriving from India at Pakistani-India border post Wagah, near Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, March 2, 2019. Indian authorities have handed over the body of a Pakistani prisoner Ullah who was beaten to death by Indian inmates this month at an Indian jail apparently in retaliation for the Dec. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
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A family member of a Pakistani prisoner Shakir Ullah, who was killed by Indian inmates in an Indian jail, sits next to his body in an ambulance arriving from India at Pakistani-India border post Wagah, near Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, March 2, 2019. Indian authorities have handed over the body of a Pakistani prisoner Ullah who was beaten to death by Indian inmates this month at an Indian jail apparently in retaliation for the Dec. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — The Latest on tensions between India and Pakistan (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry says the world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations has adopted a resolution urging India and Pakistan to de-escalate tensions and resolve their issues “through peaceful means.”

The ministry said in a statement Saturday that at the end of a meeting in Abu Dhabi, the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation “reaffirmed its unwavering support for the Kashmiri people in their just cause.”

It said the OIC expressed concern over this past week’s “Indian violation of Pakistani airspace; affirmed Pakistan’s right to self-defense; and urged India to refrain from the threat or use of force.”

The resolution came a day after Pakistan’s foreign minister skipped the meeting to protest the host’s decision to invite India, a non-member.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been running high since Indian aircraft launched a strike in Pakistan on Tuesday in response to a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 troops.

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8 p.m.

India’s defense minister has met with the air force pilot who was released from Pakistani custody.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at the Indian air force medical facility in New Delhi on Saturday, with Varthaman debriefing the minister about his detainment in Pakistan.

The news agency said the pilot was undergoing medical tests at the facility.

Varthaman was captured on Wednesday after his plane was shot down by the Pakistani military amid high tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals over the disputed Kashmir region. Pakistan handed Varthaman back to India at a border crossing on Friday.

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7:15 p.m.

India has handed over the body of a Pakistani prisoner who was beaten to death by inmates at an Indian jail last month apparently in retaliation for a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers.

It was unclear on what charges Shakir Ullah had been held at the jail.

Pakistani government officials say border guards received Ullah’s body Saturday at the same Wagah border crossing in the eastern city of Lahore from where an Indian pilot was handed over to Indian officials a day before.

The pilot was captured this past week after his plane was shot down by the Pakistani military amid high tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals over the disputed Kashmir region.

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6:45 p.m.

Pakistan’s foreign minister says Russia has offered to serve as a mediator to ease tensions between Pakistan and India.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Saturday that Pakistan was ready to accept the Russian offer, but he did not know whether India would agree as well.

Qureshi said at a news conference that Pakistan wants “peace, we don’t war and we have said that war is not solution to problems.”

Qureshi also said a top Saudi diplomat would soon visit Pakistan and India in a bid to ease tensions.

Pakistani officials said China is also expected to send an envoy to Pakistan and India next week.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been running high since Indian aircraft launched a strike in Pakistan on Tuesday in response to a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 troops.

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6:15 p.m.

A Pakistani Cabinet minister says a key train service between Pakistan and neighboring India will resume on Monday, a sign on easing tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The train service, known as Samjhauta Express, was suspended by Pakistani authorities this past week, stranding people on both sides.

On Saturday, the minister for railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, told reporters that the train link would be restored on Monday. The train links Lahore with the Indian border town of Atari.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been running high since Indian aircraft launched a strike in Pakistan on Tuesday in response to a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 troops.

Officials said Saturday that soldiers from both sides again targeted each other’s posts and villages along their volatile frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing at least six civilians and two Pakistani troops.

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4:15 p.m.

Pakistan’s military says two of its soldiers have been killed in an exchange of fire with Indian forces near the Line of Control that separates the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between the rivals.

It marked the first fatalities for Pakistani troops since Wednesday, when tensions dramatically escalated between the nuclear-armed neighbors over Kashmir, which is split between them but claimed by both in its entirety.

Pakistan’s army said in a statement Saturday that the soldiers were killed in the Nakiyal region of Kashmir in the past 24 hours. It said there were reports of troop casualties on the Indian side.

Since overnight Friday, a total of at least six civilians have been killed on both sides of Kashmir.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been running high since Indian aircraft launched a strike in Pakistan on Tuesday in response to a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 troops.

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4:15 p.m.

Indian police say two paramilitary soldiers and two counterinsurgency police officials have been killed in a gunbattle with militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir, while troops fatally shot a civilian during anti-India protests.

Police said Saturday that the fighting began Thursday night in a forested area in the northwestern Handwara area after Indian troops surrounded the area on a tip that militants were hiding there.

Since then, fighting has been on and off. In addition to the fatalities, at least eight soldiers and police have been wounded.

Police said a young man was killed Friday when government forces fired at anti-India protesters who threw stones while trying to reach the site of the fighting. Several people were also injured in the clashes.

The fighting comes amid tensions between India and Pakistan that have been running high since Indian aircraft launched a strike in Pakistan on Tuesday in response to a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 troops.

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2:05 p.m.

Pakistan’s military says Indian troops have fired across the Line of Control into the Pakistan-controlled portion of the disputed region of Kashmir, killing two civilians and wounding two others.

The casualties Saturday bring to six the number of people killed on both sides of Kashmir since overnight Friday.

Pakistan’s military said in a statement that its troops “gave a befitting response by targeting Indian posts.”

The Indian army said Pakistani soldiers attacked Indian posts at several places along the militarized line later Saturday.

The latest exchange of fire between the nuclear-armed rivals came a day after Pakistan released an Indian pilot to defuse tensions. Pakistan arrested the pilot this past week after shooting down two Indian planes in Kashmir, which is split between the countries but claimed in its entirety by both.

Tensions have been running high since Indian aircraft launched a strike in Pakistan on Tuesday in response to a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 troops.

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11:30 a.m.

Hundreds of people who were forced to flee border villagers this week amid a dramatic escalation of hostilities between Pakistan and India have urged the international community to play its role in resolving the issue of Kashmir so that they can live peacefully.

Mohammad Latif, a laborer who is taking refuge at a government building vacated for sheltering displaced families, says, “Whenever India fire mortars, it’s we who suffer.”

Parveez Kazmi, a woman whose married daughter lives in Indian Kashmir, was weeping on a road in Muzafarabad city. She cannot travel to Indian-controlled Kashmir because of recent suspension of a key bus service by New Delhi.

She says people living on both sides of Kashmir often miss funerals and weddings of their dear ones because of tension between Pakistan and India.

On Saturday, people in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir continued fleeing border villages for safety amid a resumption of deadly shelling.

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10 a.m.

A Pakistani government official says Indian troops with heavy weapons have “indiscriminately targeted border villagers” along the two countries’ Line of Control in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing a boy and wounding three others.

The official, Umar Azam, said Saturday that Pakistani troops are “befittingly” responding to the Indian fire.

He says several homes were destroyed in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, which is split between them and claimed by both in its entirety. India said earlier that Pakistani fire killed two siblings and their mother on its side.

Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence from British rule in 1947.

Saturday’s exchange of fire came a day after Pakistan handed over a captured Indian air force pilot to India as a “gesture of peace” to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors over the disputed Kashmir region.

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9:45 a.m.

Officials say two siblings and their mother have been killed in cross-border shelling between Indian and Pakistani soldiers in disputed Kashmir.

Indian police say the three died overnight after a shell fired by Pakistani soldiers hit their home in Poonch region near the so-called Line of Control that divides the Himalayan territory of Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian army says its soldiers responded.

Tensions have been running high since Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan on Tuesday, carrying out what India called a pre-emptive strike against militants blamed for a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.

Pakistan retaliated, shooting down a MiG-21 fighter jet Wednesday and its pilot, who was returned to India on Friday in a peace gesture.

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