Srinagar: Pakistan released images of ‘captured IAF Wing Commander’ after Pakistan Air Force on Wednesday said that they carried out retaliatory airstrikes across the Line of Control (LoC) following India’s ‘pre-emptive airstrike’ across LoC on Tuesday.
Earlier, images of an Indian aircraft that reportedly crashed in a field in Budgam were seen. Pakistan has denied engaging with the aircraft’s, but said it downed two Indian jets inside its airspace, and captured one pilot alive.
According to the statement, the strikes were carried out with the sole purpose being “to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the country said on Wednesday.
In a tweet, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, spokesman of the MoFA, wrote: “#Pakistanstrikesback #PAF undertook strikes across LoC from Pakistani airspace. Sole purpose of this action was to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence. We do not wish to escalate but are fully prepared if forced into that paradigm. #PakistanZindabad.”
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said that “in response to PAF strikes this morning as released by MoFA, IAF [Indian Air Force] crossed LoC.”
“PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K [Azad Jammu and Kashmir] while other fell inside IoK [Indian occupied Kashmir]. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,” he wrote on Twitter.
In response to PAF strikes this morning as released by MoFA, IAF crossed LOC. PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K while other fell inside IOK. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 27, 2019
“Pakistan has taken strikes at non military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage,” said a statement by the Foreign Office. “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,” the statement added.
This can now be said without doubt –
The Pakistani military now has Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman under custody. He is a MiG 21 pilot.
Hoping he remains safe.
— Manu Pubby (@manupubby) February 27, 2019
Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, speaking to ARY, said: “We are peaceful; we didn’t escalate, India did. We exposed their escalations and their false claims, we offered international observers to come and examine the claims of India.”
“India, listen: this is a new Pakistan, [there is] new enthusiasm, new valour,” he said. “The nation is united, each and every child is standing by the Army and Kashmiris. Even today, our preference is peace. India should review its designs. A new Pakistan has been established.”
“The next course of action will be devised after the NCA [National Command Authority] session in which military and political leadership are participating,” he added.
Furthermore, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a special meeting of the NCA, the apex civilian-led command headed by the prime minister to oversee the policy formulation, exercises, deployment, research and development, and operational command and control of the country’s nuclear arsenals.
Meanwhile, two pilots were killed after a fighter Jet of Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Garend Kalan village of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Wednesday morning, reported GNS.
A police officer told GNS that the IAF jet crashed at Garend Kalan, some 7 kilometers away from Budgam town at around 10:40 am.
In the incident, the pilot and co-pilot died on the spot, he said. Police has rushed to the spot and are verifying the incident, he said.
The police officer said that the bodies of the two pilots were recovered from the site.