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Wednesday Feb 26 2020

Pakistan commemorates Operation Swift Retort, downing of Indian aircraft


ISLAMABAD: The country's senior leadership lauded the efforts of Pakistan's armed forces a year after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) downed at least one Indian jet amidst a tense standoff with India.

In February 2019, Indian Wg Cmdr Abhinandan Varthaman's MiG-21 plane was shot down in a fight over Azad Jammu Kashmir, during an aerial battle which brought nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to the brink of a new war.

Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the gathering, praising the Pakistani nation for dealing with the crisis sensibly.

“Our media showed maturity, if you contrast it to what was happening in India and how their media and politicians reacted,” said the premier regarding the incident.  

Recalling the political situation back then, PM Imran said that Pakistan knew that India would resort to some action after the Pulwama bombing that killed 40 paramilitary troops. 

He recalled that intelligence reports had apprised him of the situation and that the country was "ready for anything" at that time.

Referring to the ongoing violence in New Delhi against Muslims, he said the incumbent Indian government's measures will push India towards destruction and will prove harmful for the region.

The prime minister appealed to the international community to intervene, noting that he has been apprising the global community regarding the atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir since last year. 

FM Qureshi lauds PAF

Earlier, FM Qureshi had addressed the ceremony.

“My first message to our eastern neighbour is that do not think of any ill-considered misadventure, because if you do, we will respond and respond immediately, as it is our right to self-defence,” he said while lauding the PAF.

Reiterating Pakistan's inclination towards regional peace, the foreign minister said that the country wants peaceful relations with its neighbours. 

Speaking on the ongoing Afghan peace process, the foreign minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is always of the view that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict. 

FM Qureshi said that Pakistan facilitated the peace process in Afghanistan and is being recognised for it now.

"Pakistan is a strong advocate for an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue as soon as the peace agreement is signed in Doha," he added. 

FM Qureshi slammed India, noting that it has imposed restrictions in Kashmir claiming it to be an internal matter.

He pointed out that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had negated this notion during a recent visit to Islamabad.

New song to mark occasion

On Monday, the PAF released a new song to mark the first anniversary of the downing of Indian jets.

Read more: PAF releases new song on anniversary of Indian jet downing

The song ‘Allah o Akbar’ has been sung by the singer Shuja Haider and honours the bravery of PAF pilots.