Two Indian jets shot down in response to airspace breach — ISPR

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Pakistan’s military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, on Wednesday, said that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian aircraft and arrested one pilot. (Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan)
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Pakistan’s military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, on Wednesday, said that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian aircraft and arrested one pilot. (Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan)
Updated 27 February 2019

Two Indian jets shot down in response to airspace breach — ISPR

  • Military spokesman says two Indian pilots captured from one jet that landed on Pakistani side
  • Foreign office says Pakistan on Wednesday hit non-military targets in India from its own airspace

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan army said on Wednesday it had shot down two Indian jets that violated the country’s airspace and captured two pilots in the steepest of escalations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors since they fought a brief war in the Himalayas in 1999.
The Pakistan army said the Indian warplanes violated the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between the two countries, after the Pakistan air force struck targets in India on Wednesday. The Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs [MoFA] also said in a statement that Pakistan had struck “non-military” targets in Indian-administered Kashmir that day.
Pakistan’s airstrikes will raise the possibility of military escalation between the arch-rivals who have fought three wars since they gained independence from the British in 1947, two of them over Kashmir, which the neighbors both claim in full but rule in part.
“In response to PAF [Pakistan Air Force] strikes this morning as released by MoFA, IAF [Indian Air Froce] crossed LOC,” military spokesman Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a post on Twitter. 
“PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K [Pakistan-administered Kashmir] while other fell inside IOK [Indian-occupied Kashmir].”
The spokesman said in his tweet that one Indian pilot was arrested by troops. At a press conference later in the day, he said two pilots had been arrested: one was being interrogated and another was being treated at a military hospital.

The Pakistani airstrikes are in response to an Indian violation of its airspace on Tuesday morning, the first since the countries fought a war in 1971. Indian claims it hit a militant training camp but Pakistan says Indian jets were barely in Pakistan for a few minutes before they were chased away by the country’s air force. 
The breach from the Indian side came in response to a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir on February 14 in which at least 40 Indian troopers were killed. The attack was claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group and India had promised a “strong response.”
In its statement, the Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs said Wednesday’s airstrikes were not in retaliation for Tuesday’s violation of its airspace by India, but simply to send the message that Pakistan had the capability and the will to hit back. 
“Pakistan has ... taken strikes at non military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage. Sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defense,” the foreign office statement said. “We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm. That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight.”


Pakistan's support for Kashmiri cause unwavering, Raheel Sharif says in Riyadh

Updated 31 October 2020

Pakistan's support for Kashmiri cause unwavering, Raheel Sharif says in Riyadh

  • Pakistani embassy in Riyadh held a seminar on the human rights situation in Kashmiri territory to mark Kashmir Black Day
  • Kashmiri self-determination is not only a moral and legally justified right, former Saudi ambassador to Pakistan says

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif said that Pakistan supports the Kashmiri cause with an "unflinching resolve."

The general's comment came during a seminar, "Human Rights Situation in Kashmir: Implications for Regional Peace and Stability," organized by the Pakistani embassy in Riyadh to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday.

"Let it be known that every citizen of Pakistan stands united with the people of Kashmir and supports their struggle for freedom with an unflinching resolve," said Gen. Raheel Sharif, who now leads the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, a counterterrorist alliance of Muslim countries, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

"The issue of Kashmir is very close to every Pakistani’s heart as we fully understand the cause and dynamics of this struggle right from the beginning. We have closely witnessed the sufferings of our Kashmiri brethren and appreciate their resolve and valor in pursuit of their goal and fundamental human rights."

Former Pakistan army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif participates in a seminar organized in Riyadh by the Pakistani embassy to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (Pakistan Embassy Riyadh via AN)

Kashmiri territory is divided between India and Pakistan, but both countries claim the region in its entirety. Crackdowns in the Indian-administered part have been escalating since August 2019, when New Delhi scrapped Articles 370 and 35A of the constitution, which gave Kashmiris limited autonomy and protected their domicile and employment rights.

If not reversed, the Indian regime's August move, Sharif said, will cause "further unrest in the region."

Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, who was one of speakers in the seminar, said that last year's change in Kashmir's status "through annexation and division of the internationally recognized disputed region," as well as subsequent lockdown and "enforced demographic shift currently underway" have aggravated the humanitarian crisis in the region.

"Kashmiri people are facing a more dangerous situation now as every passing day is marginalizing their political status and socio-economic space," he said during the seminar, as he recalled serving in Pakistan and leading Saudi relief efforts after an earthquake that devastated Kashmir in 2005.  

Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, participates in a seminar organized in Riyadh by the Pakistani embassy to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (Pakistan Embassy Riyadh via AN)

He said the relief could not reach the Indian-administered part of the territory, as New Delhi did not grant access. "We remember that Kashmir on the other side of LOC also faced devastating effects of the earthquake but could not do much due to lack of access by the Indian authorities."

"Kashmiri people want to live their lives according to their free will and India has denied this basic right and instead chosen the path of repression," Asseri added.

"The Kashmiri demand of self-determination is not only the moral right but also legally justified under UN security council resolutions."

India on Wednesday notified new laws that allow non-Kashmiris to buy land in the disputed region, rising concerns that the new regulation would dilute the Muslim-majority character of the region.

"Contrary to Indian claims of bringing development to the Kashmir valley, the real motive remains altering the demographics of the Muslim-majority territory," Islamabad's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Raja Ali Ejaz, told Arab News after the seminar.

He added that the Pakistani government remains "fully committed to the Kashmir cause."