Pakistan has right to ‘appropriate response,’ FM Qureshi says

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi chaired an emergency meeting of top officials and advisers in Islamabad on Tuesday after Indian fighter jets intruded about 4 km inside Pakistani airspace and dropped the payload. (Photo courtesy: Foreign Office)
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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi chaired an emergency meeting of top officials and advisers in Islamabad on Tuesday after Indian fighter jets intruded about 4 km inside Pakistani airspace and dropped the payload. (Photo courtesy: Foreign Office)
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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi chaired an emergency meeting of top officials and advisers in Islamabad on Tuesday after Indian fighter jets intruded about 4 km inside Pakistani airspace and dropped the payload. (Photo courtesy: Foreign Office)
Updated 26 February 2019

Pakistan has right to ‘appropriate response,’ FM Qureshi says

  • Indian warplanes reportedly violated the Line of Control on Tuesday but “hastily escaped” after Pakistan scrambled jets in response
  • In contradictory version, India says it struck Jaish-e-Mohammad militant camps inside Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that Indian jets violated the Line of Control (LoC), or the de facto border between the two nuclear-armed countries, and Islamabad has the right to an “appropriate response.”
Early Tuesday morning, Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor announced in a series of Twitter posts that Indian jets had violated the LoC which splits the disputed Kashmir region into two areas, one administered by Pakistan and the other by India. However, he said the Indian aircraft had “hastily escaped” after Pakistan scrambled its own jets after them and “no infrastructure got hit” in the confrontation. 
India’s breach has raised the possibility of military escalation between arch-rivals Pakistan and India who have fought three wars since they gained independence from the British empire in 1947, two of them over Kashmir — which the neighbors both claim in full but rule in part.
“I consider this a violation of the line of control,” Qureshi said about the early morning incursion in brief comments to the media after holding an “emergency meeting” of top officials and advisers. “Pakistan has the right to an appropriate response, it has the right to self defense.”
He added that he would now meet Prime Minister Imran Khan who had summoned a special meeting to discuss Pakistan’s options following the breach by the Indian side.

But contradicting Pakistan’s version of what transpired on Tuesday morning, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said India had carried out an intelligence-based operation inside Pakistan, striking at “the biggest training camp” of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group in Balakot. 
Balakot is a town in the northwestern Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about 50 km from the LoC in Kashmir. 
“In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen [guerrilla] action were eliminated,” Gokhale said in a statement. 
India’s minister of state for agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat also said on Twitter that the Indian Air Force had carried out an aerial strike on “terror camps” across the LoC and completely destroyed them. 
The latest confrontation comes after days of simmering tensions between Pakistan and India over a February 14 suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir in which at least 40 Indian paramilitary troopers were killed. The attack was claimed by the JeM. 
New Delhi blamed Islamabad for the assault and faced with election-year pressures, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a “strong response.” Pakistan denies any state complicity.
Although exchanges of artillery and light weapons on the LoC are not uncommon, Tuesday’s statements from Pakistan and India are rare public admissions of airspace violations by warplanes.
In September 2016, India said it had conducted “surgical strikes” on militants in Pakistan but Pakistan “completely rejected” the claim. The alleged strikes followed a separatist attack on an army base in Uri near Pakistan and India’s disputed frontier in which 17 soldiers perished. 


Pakistan ranks ninth on CPJ’s 2020 Global Impunity Index 

Updated 29 October 2020

Pakistan ranks ninth on CPJ’s 2020 Global Impunity Index 

  • The annual index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free
  • The ranking is: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Philippines, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, India

ISLAMABAD: The Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked Pakistan number nine on its annual Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free. 

The ranking is: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Philippines, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, India.

Each year the CPJ index includes more stable countries where criminal and political groups, politicians, business leaders, and other powerful actors resort to violence to silence critical and investigative journalists. 

“CPJ has found that corruption, weak institutions, and lack of political will to pursue robust investigations are all factors behind impunity in these countries, which include Pakistan, Mexico, and the Philippines,” the watchdog said on its website. 

In Pakistan, a verdict in the Daniel Pearl case this year showed that “even murder cases that were long thought to be resolved can be upended,” the watchdog said. 

On April 2, the Sindh High Court overturned the murder convictions of four men accused in the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The decision found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had previously been sentenced to death, guilty only of kidnapping Pearl and reduced his sentence to seven years, which he has already served. The Pearl family and the Sindh provincial government appealed, and according to news reports, the four men remained imprisoned at the end of September.

Freeing the men “would be a devastating setback for justice that would also send a dangerous message to Jihadi militants in Pakistan and around the world, who have systematically targeted journalists in the 18 years since Pearl was killed,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Pakistan and the Philippines have been mainstays on the Global Impunity Index since its inception in 2008. The Philippines is the biggest mover in this year’s rankings, improving from the fifth worst country worldwide to the seventh worst.