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pakistan
Wednesday Feb 27 2019
By
Web Desk

PM Imran again invites India for talks, says better sense should prevail

By
Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday once again invited India for talks and urged better sense should prevail.

Addressing the nation in the wake of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shooting down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace, the premier said, "I wanted to take you into confidence regarding the situation arising since yesterday. We offered India that we are ready to cooperate with them in any kind of investigation after the Pulwama attack."

"We know how the families of those killed in Pulwama incident must have felt. We have been the victims of war for decades. I have been to hospitals visiting survivors of bomb attacks, the ones who are left behind, who are maimed and left crippled. We know what war means. Since the beginning, we have asked India to share actionable evidence with us. It is nowhere in the interest of Pakistan for it to be used as a base for militancy," he continued.

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"But I had a hunch that India would escalate, and that is why in my earlier speech I had stated that if India plays war games, we will retaliate. We waited, and today we took action. It was our plan to not cause any collateral damage, and not to cause any casualties. We simply wanted to show capability," the premier explained.

PM Imran continued, "Two Indian MiGs crossed Pakistan’s borders, and we shot them down. I also want to state that the pilot is with us."

"I want to now address India and say let sanity prevail. Let’s think sensibly. All wars in the world have been started on miscalculations on the time and the human cost of war. This was the same with the First World War, with the Second World War, the war on terror, the Vietnam War. The history of the world shows us wars have always been miscalculation," he asserted.

"I ask India; with our weapons capability.... on both sides, can we afford a miscalculation? It will neither be in my control or Modi’s. The hurt that has been caused due to the Pulwama attack, we want to come to the table and talk about terrorism that affects us both. We are ready. Let better sense prevail," the premier urged.

Earlier today, the PAF shot down two Indian aircraft.  

Pakistan wants peace, India needs to understand war is failure of policy: DG ISPR

Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor addressed a press conference earlier today and said Pakistan wants peace and India needs to understand war is a failure of policy.

Stating that the Pakistan armed forces and PAF had no choice but to respond, DG ISPR said the question was "how to respond" whether in "a similar manner as India or as a responsible country".

"Pakistan's armed forces have capability, will, resolve and nation’s support. But because we are a responsible state and want peace, we decided first of all that we won’t take any military targets."

"Secondly, we decided that there be no loss of life or collateral damage in our engaging of targets," Major General Ghafoor added. "Our planes locked targets, then in open air we carried out strikes," he continued.

"We locked all targets with accuracy, and when we had option to fire, we acted responsibly from a safe distance. We have capability to do anything, but we don’t want escalation. We don’t want to go towards war," he asserted.

"After PAF decided on targets, two Indian jets entered Pakistani airspace and the PAF faced them. The two planes were shot down — one fell in our space and the other on their side," the DG ISPR shared.

Refuting Indian media reports that a Pakistani F-16 jet was shot down, Major General Ghafoor said, "Pakistan did not use F-16 in any activity today."

The Pakistan military spokesperson stressed, "The state, government, armed forces and people of Pakistan have always conveyed a message of peace to India. The road to peace goes through dialogue. Both countries have the capability and capacity but war is the failure of policy which India needs to understand. We do not want to escalate and follow a path which leads to peace. The people of both countries and region at large have a right to live and live in peace. War is not the solution to problems. India should think with a cool head on this offer from Pakistan."

"Today's action was in self defence, we don't want to claim any victory. There are no victors in war. I request media to report objectively, responsibly, to go towards peace. Our message is for peace," he further said. "Starting a war is easy, but where it ends, nobody knows."

Calling on the international community to play its role, DG ISPR said, “Pakistan is sending a message of peace and they should also come forward and see how the environment between India and Pakistan are a threat to peace and development not only to the two countries but the region and beyond.”

Major General Ghafoor added, "Pakistan’s response is not a retaliation per se, but a demonstration of our capability, responsibility and will. It is now up to India whether they go towards peace, which is a requirement of the region. But if forced, we will respond."

In response to a question, Major General Ghafoor said, "Pakistan is not pushing for war. We engaged our targets in open air, we deliberately avoided escalation. We could easily have taken the original targets, but we did not do that."

Regarding the airspace being closed, the DG ISPR said, "It has been closed due to the environment."

India confirms MiG 21 shot down, pilot missing

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said a MiG 21 was shot down and its pilot is missing.

Addressing a press conference, a spokesperson for the Indian MEA said, "We unfortunately lost one MiG-21 in this engagement and an Indian pilot is missing in action. Pakistan claims the pilot is in their custody, however, we are ascertaining the facts."

"In the aerial engagement, a Pakistan fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG-21 Bison. The aircraft was seen by ground forces falling on the Pakistan side," he added.

Earlier, Indian media confirmed an Indian Air Force (IAF) wing commander is in Pakistan's custody.

All flight operations in Pakistan suspended till Thursday midnight

All flight operations in Pakistan will remain suspended till Thursday midnight, the Civil Aviation Authority said in a notification on Wednesday.

The authority, in a notification, announced it has officially closed its airspace till tomorrow midnight, in the wake of escalating border tensions between Pakistan and India.

Flight operations at Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Islamabad airports were suspended after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace earlier today and arrested an Indian on ground.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) tweeted a few hours later that the Pakistani airspace had been closed until further notice. 

India has shut at least four airports after the incident, according to Reuters. Flight operations at Srinagar, Jammu, Pathankot and Leh airports have been suspended. Airports in Chandigarh and Amritsar have also been closed, Reuters added.

Pakistani strikes not retaliation to continued Indian belligerence: FO

The Foreign Office in a statement stated, "Pakistan Air Force (PAF) conducted strikes across Line of Control (LoC) from within Pakistani airspace."

"This was not a retaliation to continued Indian belligerence. Pakistan has therefore, taken strikes at non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage," the FO statement read.

"Sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence. We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm," it added. "That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight."

The FO further said, "For the last few years, India has been trying to establish what they call “a new normal” a thinly veiled term for doing acts of aggression at whatever pretext they wish on a given day. If India is striking at so called terrorist backers without a shred of evidence, we also retain reciprocal rights to retaliate against elements that enjoy Indian patronage while carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan. We do not wish to go to that route and wish that India gives peace a chance and to resolve issues like a mature democratic nation."

On Tuesday, 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.

The incursion into the Pakistani air space followed 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.

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