Pakistan extended army chief General Bajwa's tenure for three years as tensions flared with India which pulled disputed Kashmir's autonomy on August 5. Islamabad said at least two civilians were killed in cross-border fire by Indian troops on Sunday.

A Kashmiri school staff member cleans a deserted classroom in Srinagar in disputed Kashmir. August 19, 2019.
A Kashmiri school staff member cleans a deserted classroom in Srinagar in disputed Kashmir. August 19, 2019. (Mukhtar Khan / AP)

Some schools in India-administered Kashmir reopened on Monday but were largely empty following weekend clashes in Srinagar, two-weeks after New Delhi removed the disputed region's autonomy and imposed a security and communication lockdown.

Kashmiris were forced to stay doors without access to telephone lines, mobile phones or the internet for 13 days in most parts of the Muslim-majority region. India's decision to scrap a law key to the ascension treaty of the former princely state provoked international outrage and sporadic protests in the region.

The government said over the weekend it was gradually restoring phone lines and easing the lockdown, but changes are slow. Public buses were running in rural areas, but soldiers limited the movement of people on mostly deserted streets in Srinagar.

The authorities said that they were reopening 190 primary schools in Srinagar city for students from preschool to fifth grade, yet few children returned to classes.

Six grade schools in the city were found closed on Monday morning, with no school administrators or students in sight.

"Why would I risk sending my kids to school when the government is uncertain about the security situation?" said Srinagar resident Mohammed Latief, whose children are in the first and third grades.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that restrictions were reimposed in parts of Srinagar after violence was reported on Saturday.

Pakistan army chief tenure extended

Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, was handed a three-year extension on Monday as tensions with neighbouring India flared this month over the disputed territory, the prime minister's office said.

The two nuclear-armed neighbours rule parts of Kashmir but claim it in full.

The countries have exchanged fire along the disputed Line of Control (LoC) that separates Pakistan- and India-administered Kashmir following New Delhi's decision to revoke the special status for its portion of the disputed region.

"The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment," the prime minister's office said in a statement announcing the decision.

Bajwa's tenure was due to end in November but analysts have long predicted the extension.

'Ceasefire violation'

Pakistan said Indian troops fired across the LoC, killing two civilians and wounding another.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that civilian casualties occurred on Sunday because of "unprovoked ceasefire violations" by India in the border villages of Hot Spring and Chirikot.

The military said a 75-year-old man and a 61-year-old man were killed. It said in a statement that Pakistani troops returned fire at the Indian posts from which mortar fire and anti-tank guided missiles had originated.

It said two Indian troops were killed, but there was no immediate comment from New Delhi.

Pakistan and India have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since they won independence from British colonialists in 1947.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed concern over continued ceasefire violations by India and urged the international community to take note of human rights violations in India-administered Kashmir.

Talking to journalists late Sunday in the city of Multan, he challenged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold a vote to determine whether Indian and Kashmiri people support or reject the changes his government made to Kashmir's status.

Amid the rising tensions, authorities in Pakistan issued a flood warning for parts of the eastern town of Kasur after saying India without warning had released water into the River Sutlej and that it could inundate villages in Kasur. The floodwaters are expected to enter Pakistan on Tuesday morning.

The 1960 Indus Water Treaty brokered by the World Bank requires India to share information with Pakistan about rivers flowing to Pakistan.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies