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Indians accused of torturing, killing Pakistani

From Tom Mintier
CNN Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan officials on Saturday angrily demanded an investigation into the alleged torture and murder of a Pakistani lance corporal by Indian soldiers when he stepped into "no-man's land" between the two borders to retrieve a pair of errant camels.

Pakistani government spokesman Rashid Qureshi said the incident, coupled with a recent incursion by an Indian reconnaissance aircraft that was shot down inside Pakistani territory, "may be the spark" that further harms relations between the two nations.

CNN's Ram Ramgopal reports on the decline in tourism in Kashmir as a result of the political instability in the region.

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"This incident has had an affect on tensions" between the adversarial neighbors, Qureshi said.

Indian officials in New Delhi said they had not received a formal protest from Pakistan and had not officially heard of the torture allegations, but they flatly denied their troops ever engaged in any such activities.

Body returned Thursday

They said the Pakistani soldier, identified as Lance Corporal Naik Maqsood, was killed by Indian rangers who opened fire on him as he illegally crossed into India.

Qureshi, however, said Maqsood was captured Wednesday in the Port Abbas sector and taken to the Indian side of the border. His mutilated body was returned Thursday.

"The claim by the Indians that Lance Maqsood was killed under fire is belied by the fact he was shot at point-blank range," a government statement said.

Qureshi said Indian officials were notified that camels used by the Pakistani rangers for patrols had strayed into the no-man's land and that a ranger would be retrieving them. But, he said, eight or nine Indian soldiers snagged the corporal.

Pakistani officials said the results of an autopsy showed Maqsood was shot in the leg, some skin was cut off, he was burned and possibly hit with electrodes, and a substance was put into his eye before he was fatally shot in the heart at point blank range.

Qureshi said Pakistan planned a formal protest and "further action." He called for a thorough investigation into the incident, which he called a "clear violation" of the Geneva conventions, and for the punishment of those found to be responsible for Maqsood's death.

After a December attack on the Indian Parliament, tensions between the South Asian countries -- both capable of launching nuclear weapons -- have greatly increased.

India and Pakistan have moved thousands of troops to their international border and to the Line of Control, which divides the Indian and Pakistani sections of the disputed Kashmir region.




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