Pakistan Army confirms IAF air strike in Balakot

  • Pakistan Army confirms Indian fighter jets dropped 'four bombs' but downplays its significance
  • Pakistan Army official says will surprise India with its response in all domains, including diplomatic, political and military

Sajjad Hussain (with inputs from PTI)
Updated26 Feb 2019
IAF used Mirage 2000 to strike in Balakot
IAF used Mirage 2000 to strike in Balakot (PTI )

Pakistan Army confirmed that Indian fighter jets dropped "four bombs" during an operation on Tuesday but downplayed its significance, saying the Indian attack was repulsed and while going back the aircraft "jettisoned their payload."Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also said that Pakistan will "surprise" India with its response that will be in all domains including "diplomatic, political and military."

"Prime Minister Imran Khan told the army and the people that get ready for any eventuality. Now it is time for India to wait for our response. We have decided. Wait for it," Ghafoor said.

His remarks came hours after India bombed and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control, early Tuesday, killing a "very large number" of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.

Ghafoor claimed that India failed to surprise Pakistan.

"We were ready and not surprised. I said we will surprise you and wait for the surprise. (Our) response will come and it will be different.

"Our response will be in all domains including diplomatic, political and military," the General added.

He claimed that the Indian planes were in Pakistan's airspace for "just 4 minutes" and went back when challenged by the Pakistani aircraft.

Ghafoor said that Indian jets first tried to enter Lahore-Sialkot sector, while another formation of jets came close to Okara-Bahawalpur area of international border but found Pakistan air force ready and went back.

"Then a third formation was picked in Muzaffarabad sector which was heavier...It was repulsed, but while going back they jettisoned their payload and four bombs fell in Jabba, near the town of Balakot, causing no casualties or damage," he said.

He asserted that there was no strike but only the payload fell.

Ghafoor said that he was ready to take the media to the place where payload fell to show that there was no damage done, but cancelled the trip due to bad weather. He added that apart from the media, defence attaches can also go.

The spokesman also rejected the Indian claim about targeting any infrastructure and said their claim of 350 dead is also "false."

He asserted that Pakistan was ready to follow what Prime Minister Khan said that Islamabad would not think about retaliation but retaliate. "They have not attacked, so why should we retaliate immediately?" he said.

"If they had attacked at military positions, then our forces would have taken on them. But it was not their mission as they wanted provocation. Their mission was to target a civilian place in order to claim that they killed terrorists. So that they could get benefit for elections," he added. 

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