NSC on LoC violation: Pakistan will decide time and place of response to India

Pakistan rejects Indian claim of targeting alleged terrorist camp near Balakot

Asif Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday rejected Indian claims of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot, adding that Pakistan will decide the time and place of response to the aggression.

The meeting, chaired by the premier in the wake of India's violation of the Line of Control (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.

Ahead of the meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi chaired an emergency consultative meeting at the Foreign Office. Speaking to the media after the meeting, the foreign minister said Pakistan holds the right to self-defence and a befitting response to Indian aggression.

“We kept on telling the world that this could happen… they [India] carried out aggression against Pakistan today. India violated the LoC [today]. Pakistan holds the right to self-defence and a befitting response,” Qureshi added.

Indian military aircraft violated the LoC as they "intruded" from the Muzaffarabad sector and were forced to return owing to the timely response of the Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Army 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," Major General Ghafoor wrote on Twitter.

He also tweeted images of the "payload of hastily escaping Indian aircraft" which "fell in [the] open".

The incursion into the Pakistani 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.