Pakistan says Indian Air Force violated airspace, escalating tensions

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Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor addresses a press conference in Rawalpindi, April 17, 2017. (AP/File)
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Photos shared by Pakistan army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor of the ‘payload’ released by what the spokesman described as “hastily escaping Indian aircrafts.” On Tuesday morning, the military said Indian jets had violated its airspace but Pakistan scrambled jets in response. (Photo courtesy: OfficialDGISPR/Twitter)
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Photos shared by Pakistan army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor of the ‘payload’ released by what the spokesman described as “hastily escaping Indian aircrafts.” On Tuesday morning, the military said Indian jets had violated its airspace but Pakistan scrambled jets in response. (Photo courtesy: OfficialDGISPR/Twitter)
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Photos shared by Pakistan army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor of the ‘payload’ released by what the spokesman described as “hastily escaping Indian aircrafts.” On Tuesday morning, the military said Indian jets had violated its airspace but Pakistan scrambled jets in response. (Photo courtesy: OfficialDGISPR/Twitter)
Updated 27 February 2019

Pakistan says Indian Air Force violated airspace, escalating tensions

  • Pakistan scrambled jets in response, India “hastily escaped”, Military spokesman says.
  • Indian news agency says 12 jets entered Pakistan and destroyed “terror camps”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s military said on Tuesday Indian jets had violated the de facto border between the two countries but “released a payload” and “hastily escaped” after Pakistan scrambled its own jets after them.
The early morning assault, which Pakistan’s army spokesman said had not caused any damage or casualties, comes after days of simmering tensions between Pakistan and India over a Feb 14 suicide bombing in the disputed Kashmir region in which 40 Indian paramilitary troopers were killed.
The attack was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group. New Delhi blamed Islamabad for the assault and promised a “strong response.” Pakistan denies any state complicity.
“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back,” Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
He said the Indian aircraft “intruded from Muzafarabad sector,” an area in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir, but faced a “timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force.”
While escaping, Ghafoor said, the Indian jets “released payload … which fell near Balakot” in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
“Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles,” he said in another tweet. “Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area.”
Ghafoor also tweeted pictures of what he said was the payload released by the “hastily escaping Indian aircrafts.”
The strikes raised the possibility of military escalation between the nuclear-armed neighbors who have fought three wars since they gained independence from the British in 1947, two of them over the disputed Kashmir region.
Reuters reported that India’s defense ministry said it had no information about Pakistan’s claims.
But ANI, an Indian news agency, quoted Indian Air Force sources as saying at least twelve Indian jets entered Pakistan at around 3.30 a.m. on Tuesday morning and “struck a major terrorist camp … and completely destroyed it.”
“12 Mirage 2000 jets took part in the operation that dropped 1000 Kg bombs on terror camps across LOC, completely destroying it,” ANI said in one of several tweets about the alleged strikes.
Although exchanges of artillery and light weapons on the Line of Control are not uncommon, Tuesday’s statement from the Pakistan army is a rare public announcement of an attempted airstrike by arch-rival India.
In September 2016, India said it had conducted “surgical strikes” on militants in Pakistan it suspected of preparing to infiltrate into the part of Kashmir it controls. Pakistan completely rejected the claim.
The alleged strikes followed a militant attack on an army base in Uri near LOC that killed 17 soldiers.


FM Qureshi holds meeting with UAE state minister, discusses bilateral cooperation

Updated 28 November 2020

FM Qureshi holds meeting with UAE state minister, discusses bilateral cooperation

  • The Pakistani foreign minister highlighted close fraternal ties and stressed his country’s commitment to closer bilateral cooperation
  • UAE Minister of State Reem Al Hashimi appreciated Qureshi’s proposal to the OIC to focus on the menace of Islamophobia

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met United Arab Emirates Minister of State Reem Al Hashimi on the sidelines of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Niamey, Niger, on Saturday.
During their meeting, the two leaders exchanged views on bilateral cooperation, COVID-19 situation, Pakistan’s participation in an Expo arranged by the UAE, and other matters of mutual interest.
Qureshi highlighted the close fraternal ties and people-to-people contacts between the two countries and stressed Pakistan’s commitment to forge closer cooperation with the UAE in diverse fields.
According to an official handout circulated by the foreign office of Pakistan, the Emirati state minister lauded Qureshi’s speech at the Niger meeting in which he proposed the OIC to deal with the menace of Islamophobia.
“Apprising the Emirati Minister of State of the difficulties being faced by Pakistani citizens with regard to UAE visa, Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored the need to address the issue at the earliest possible,” said the official statement. “The two sides also exchanged views on OIC matters and stressed the importance of further strengthening it as a united and pivotal platform for the Muslim Ummah.”
It was also agreed during the meeting to enhance mutual exchanges to carry forward the process of growing bilateral cooperation.