Tuesday Feb 26 2019

Pakistan Air Force’s ‘timely response’ repels Indian aircraft after LoC breach: DG ISPR


ISLAMABAD: Indian military aircraft violated the Line of Control (LoC) as they "intruded" from the Muzafarabad sector and were forced to return owing to the timely response of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Pakistan military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said early Tuesday.

"Indian aircraft intrusion across LoC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJK was 3-4 miles. Under forced hasty withdrawal aircraft released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow," director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) wrote on Twitter.

Earlier, Major General Ghafoor had said, the Indian aircraft "released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot". 

Maj Gen Ghafoor tweeted images of the "payload of hastily escaping Indian aircraft" which "fell in [the] open".

In his first tweet, DG ISPR had said, "Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircraft gone back. Details to follow." 

The incursion into the Pakistan air space follows a series of threats by Indian political and military leadership following the attack on an Indian Army convoy at Pulwama by a local youth, in reaction to the oppression unleashed by the occupational forces.

Pakistan rejects Indian claim of targeting alleged terrorist camp near Balakot

A meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected Indian claims of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot.

The meeting, chaired by the premier in the wake of India's violation of the LoC, was attended by the top civil and military leadership, including Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa and ministers of defence and foreign affairs.

A handout released after the NSC meeting stated the forum strongly rejected Indian claims of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties. Once again Indian government has resorted to a self-serving, reckless and fictitious claim, the handout added.

This action has been done for domestic consumption given the election environment, putting regional peace and stability at grave risk, the NSC said.

The claimed area of strike is open for the world to see the facts on ground. Domestic and international media is being taken to the impact site, it added.

The forum concluded that India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing.

To take the nation on board, the govt has decided to requisition joint session of the Parliament, the handout released after the NSC meeting further stated.

PM Imran has summoned a special meeting of National Command Authority (NCA) on February 27. PM has directed that elements of national power, including the Armed Forces and the people of Pakistan, to remain prepared for all eventualities.

The premier has decided to engage with global leadership to expose irresponsible Indian policy in the region, the handout further read.

PM further appreciated the timely and effective response of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to repulse Indian attempt without any loss of life or property.

Joint parliamentary session summoned

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan announced a joint parliamentary session has been summoned on the opposition's demand.

"A joint parliamentary session will take place," the minister of state for parliamentary affairs said as he responded to the demand of the leaders of opposition parties on the floor of the National Assembly. "I will try that the session is summoned today even if it is at midnight."

"I have just come from the national security committee meeting and I told the participants that the entire Parliament and nation are united," he added.

As the National Assembly session resumed today, opposition leaders demanded that a joint parliamentary session be summoned.

"We are in a state of war. The Parliament should sit together and decide," Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Khursheed Shah said. Stating that "India wishes to exploit our internal differences and attack us," Shah said, "We have to show to India and the world that the entire nation is united." 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former defence minister Khawaja Asif also took to the floor and seconded Shah's demand for a joint parliamentary session. 

The PML-N leader also called on all parties to "be united" and to show solidarity with the armed forces. "Our country, our sovereignty and our integrity are being threatened," Asif said.

"It is not the time for political point-scoring and we should put aside our differences and unite the entire nation," he added. "We are standing behind our armed forces like an iron wall."

"The entire nation will have to firmly issue a united response to India," the former defence minister asserted. "We should not hesitate to help Kashmiris."

Criticising the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for inviting Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj as a "guest of honour" at the inaugural session of the foreign ministers' conclave in Abu Dhabi next month, Asif said, "Pakistan should boycott the OIC meeting."

"It is an insult that our enemy is being invited as a guest of honour when Kashmiris are facing bloodshed," he stated.

Former NA speaker and PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq also called on the government to raise the issue of inviting Swaraj as "guest of honour" with OIC. "The organisation has no power to invite India without seeking the consent of member states," Sadiq said.

Agreeing with the opposition’s demand for a joint parliament session, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf politician and former speaker Syed Fakhar Imam Shah said Pakistan has come at a crossroads where it has to decide whether to live with honour or otherwise.

“Today, the future of my country is at stake. Today, the people of Pakistan have to decide to either live with honour, or live otherwise. And I am sure my country will decide to live with honour,” Imam said in his strongly-worded address on the floor of the National Assembly.

“Now the time has come for Pakistan’s survival. This is nobody else’s war. This is Pakistan’s [war],” he said.

The PTI leader noted with regret that India was being led by the war-mongering Narendra Modi.

“India has had some great leaders. But unfortunately, Modi is their leader today,” he lamented, adding that the Hindutva’s mindset was exactly what Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah liberated the Muslims from when he founded Pakistan.

'Pakistan Armed Forces ready for befitting response' 

On Monday, DG ISPR had said, "Pakistan Armed Forces are fully prepared for a befitting response to any Indian aggression or misadventure".

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had visited the Air Headquarters a day earlier and "deliberated on operational environment including threat and response" with the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), according to Maj Gen Ghafoor.

"Both chiefs expressed satisfaction on readiness, coordination and synergy. Pakistan Armed Forces are fully prepared for a befitting response to any Indian aggression or misadventure," he had said.

General Bajwa, who also visited Headquarters Rawalpindi Corps, was updated by the Commander there "on operational situation & state of readiness along Line of Actual Contact (LAC), Line of Control and Working Boundary (WB)."

"COAS expressed satisfaction on the state of preparations & readiness," Maior General Ghafoor had tweeted.

Prior to that, on Sunday, Gen Bajwa had visited troops along the working boundary near Sialkot and had said there was nothing more sacred than defending the motherland.

“I take pride in leading an Army which is ever ready to perform this duty,” the Army chief had stated.

On the same day, Air chief Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan had said the PAF was always ready to fight any act of aggression as per the nation’s expectations.

A PAF spokesperson had said the air chief visited the forward operating bases, where he interacted with the crew as well. Air Marshal Khan had said Pakistan was a peace-loving nation but if war is imposed on them, then they know how to protect borders.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in a televised address to the nation last Tuesday warned India to desist from any misadventure and said it was easy to start a war, but then no one has the control on how to end it. In categorical terms Imran Khan said "we will not think of retaliating, we will retaliate. We will have no other option other than retaliating."

PM Imran said Pakistan wanted peace with India and had nothing to gain from the incident. He offered to cooperate if any evidence was shared.