Indian air violations, Pak army takes International press, diplomats to site

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Pakistan on Wednesday facilitated a visit of a group of ambassadors, defence attachés and international journalists to the site of Indian air violation in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in which New Delhi claimed it had killed around 300 terrorists.

The delegation, which visited the impact site of the so-called February 26 airstrike near Jabba, Balakot, included international journalists mostly based in India, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in its statement.

On the occasion, DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor briefed the group about details of the event, negating repeated false Indian claims with ground realities.

The visitors were shown bomb craters of denied Indian air strike attempt in barren open spaces with no loss to life or infrastructure. They also visited nearby madrassa claimed by India for having been struck and killing scores of terrorists.

The diplomats and international journalists freely interacted with student children and teachers and saw for themselves that madrassa stood on ground untouched with only innocent local children undergoing education.

The DG ISPR reiterated that India, instead of pursuing false claims, should “accept the reality, stay a responsible state for peace in the region and especially to look inward to identify reasons for out-of-hand situation inside Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir”.

Later, the group visited Army Public School Swat, a state-of-the-art education facility with computer and science labs, auditorium and sports stadium, the ISPR said further in its statement.

The school was established by Pakistan Army as a gift for resilient people of Swat in recognition of their contributions and sacrifices in defeating terrorism as terrorists had specially targeted educational institutions during the unrest.

The diplomats and international journalists also visited Sabaoon (morning light) De-radicalisation Centre, Malakand — a rehabilitation facility that psychologically treats indoctrinated juveniles and help them return to normal life, and become useful citizens.

Tensions soared between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama, occupied Kashmir.

India piled the blame for Pulwama bombing on Pakistan without presenting any proof. The allegations were strongly refuted by Pakistan.

In response, India said it carried out on February 26 air strikes on what it called a militant training camp in Balakot inside Pakistan.

The Indian government was quick to take credit for a “successful” airstrike and put the death toll to over 300. Pakistani officials, as well as the locals, rejected the claims, inviting local and international media to visit the site of the so-called attack where around a dozen trees were the only “casualty”.

The PAF, in retaliatory action, downed two Indian aircraft the next day, capturing Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan, who was later released as a “peace gesture” by Pakistan.

GEO TV