India rejects Pakistan's claim of "shooting" down jets, "capturing" pilot
Minutes after Pakistan claimed it had shot down two IAF jets and imprisoned a pilot, India rejected the theory, and said "all our pilots are accounted for". Skies in the border witnessed heavy action on Wednesday as three jets of Pakistan tried to violate the Indian air space. However, Pakistan's F-16 jets were shot down in retaliation in Nowshera sector. Here's what happened.
Pakistan Army's spokesperson claimed Indian pilot has been "arrested"
Pakistan's Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted a short while ago that IAF jets "entered airspace". "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, (sic)," he added. But soon the lie was busted as India confirmed all pilots are safe.
We didn't retaliate, claims Pakistan
Apart from the fishy claim, Islamabad also released a statement titled "Pakistani Strikes Back" to apprise its citizens about the development. "This was not retaliation to continued Indian belligerence. Pakistan has, therefore, taken strikes at a non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage," read the statement. The statement added Pakistan doesn't wish any "escalation", hence carried out "strikes in broad daylight".
India attacked so-called terrorist backers: Pakistan
"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," the statement which "advocated peace" read.
Earlier, IAF demolished Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest camp in overnight operation
Pakistan's "apparent retaliation" comes a day after IAF successfully demolished Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest camp which was flourishing in Balakot. At the camp, the outfit trained terrorists for deadly attacks on India. It was Jaish which executed the dastardly Pulwama attack. The camp was run by Jaish chief Masood Azhar's brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar. In the overnight operation, IAF inflicted serious damage on Jaish.
Pakistan called India's operation "act of aggression"
Rattled by IAF's airstrikes, Pakistan called it an "act of aggression". On Tuesday evening, armed forces from across the border warned India of a "surprise attack". Notably, in its first official statement after the attack, India underlined that IAF's operation was pre-emptive measure against terrorism and military establishments weren't touched. Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said Jaish was planning more attacks.
Separately, Pakistani social media users share fake images
To support their country's claim that IAF jets have been shot down, Pakistani social media users have been sharing old images. A 2018 image of IAF Hawk crash in Odisha was widely shared on social media. The people from across the border also shared an image of Surya Kiran crash survivor Vijay Shelke as the pilot who was "captured".
Truth v/s fact: Don't fall for fake images
Meanwhile, flight operations have taken a hit
After Pakistan's attempted violation, airspace was shut down in J&K. Flight operations have also been suspended at Amritsar and Dehradun. Not only this, international flights which transit between Indian and Pakistani airspace were also affected. While some flights returned to their origin, others took a different route. Separately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting in New Delhi to take stock of the situation.
Separately, Pakistan confirms it wasn't involved in IAF's jet crash
Earlier in the day, an IAF Mi-17 aircraft crashed in Budgam. While no official announcement was made, reports claimed the jet crashed due to a technical glitch. Two pilots reportedly lost their lives. Notably, Pakistan didn't have a hand in the crash. Confirming the same, Ghafoor said, "There are reports of the crash of an Indian aircraft on the Indian side, we had no engagement with that aircraft."Share this timeline