By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan on Friday strongly condemned the killing of four Kashmiris by Indian security forces.
"Pakistan strongly condemns the extra-judicial killing of four more innocent Kashmiris in a fake encounter outside the city of Jammu by the Indian occupation forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK)," the Foreign Ministry said.
Indian forces said that they killed militants in a shootout on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
Over the past year, more than 300 Kashmiris including women and children were killed by Indian forces, the ministry said calling for an independent inquiry into the "extrajudicial killings".
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised his security forces for their "bravery and professionalism."
"Neutralising of 4 terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed and the presence of large cache of weapons and explosives with them indicates that their efforts to wreak major havoc and destruction have once again been thwarted," Modi tweeted.
"Our security forces have once again displayed utmost bravery and professionalism. Thanks to their alertness," he added.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.