Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday scrambled fighter jets over several major cities, including the capital, as it said it had stepped up “vigilance” in view of the “current environment”.
The fighter aircrafts roared over Islamabad, the nearby garrison city of Rawalpindi and other cities on Monday afternoon as Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Humayun Viqar Zephyr said in a statement: “in view of the current environment, PAF has enhanced its vigilance.”
Vigilant: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani says the army is ready to defend the country against India’s threat. Mian Khursheed / Reuters
Residents made panic calls to media stations to ask about the low-flying aircrafts. The air sorties came a day after India’s external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said India is keeping “all options open” to deal with the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks.
In Karachi, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told businessmen that the Pakistani army is ready to defend the country against threats from India. “On threats on our eastern border, the Pakistani nation is fully united,” he said. “The country is in safe hands. We have a highly professional army.” The two countries were involved in a spat last week over alleged violations of Pakistani airspace by Indian planes. Pakistan lodged a formal protest that Indian jets had violated an agreement on airspace violations in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a charge India denies. (Bloomberg contributed to the story)