Come see for yourself: Pakistan opens Balakot to international media | Pakistan Today

Come see for yourself: Pakistan opens Balakot to international media

–Journalists visit Indian strike site, see no damage to life

–ISPR DG says India should stop lying and start acting like a responsible state

RAWALPINDI: A group of international media journalists, mostly India-based, and ambassadors and defence attachés of various countries in Pakistan, visited the impact site of 26 February Indian air violation near Jabba, Balakot.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) briefed the group about details of the event, negating repeated false Indian claims with ground realities.

A statement issued by ISPR stated that the visitors were shown bomb craters of denied Indian air strike attempt in barren open spaces with no loss to life or infrastructure. The group also visited the nearby madrassa which India claimed to have struck, allegedly killing scores of terrorists. The visitors freely interacted with the students and teachers and saw themselves that the madrassa stood on ground untouched with only innocent local children undergoing education.

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

Later, ISPR said, a group visited APS Swat, a state-of-the-art education facility with computer and science labs, auditorium and sports stadium. This was established by the 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 group also visited Sabaoon (morning light) de-radicalisation Centre Malakand, a rehabilitation facility for psychologically treating indoctrinated juveniles and helping them return to normal life and become useful citizens of society, ISPR added.

Pakistan and India had returned from the brink of war after a suicide bomber struck an Indian paramilitary convoy in Pulwama district of the occupied region, killing at least 44 troops.

India blamed Pakistan for the attack and launched airstrikes within Pakistani territory, followed Pakistani strikes in Kashmir and downing of an India jet.

The sparring between India and Pakistan threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by US officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, according to a Reuters report.

At one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes “three times over”, according to Western diplomats and government sources in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington.

The way in which tensions suddenly worsened and threatened to trigger a war between the nuclear-armed nations shows how the disputed Kashmir region remains one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

On Monday, ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor maintained that India is yet to provide any concrete evidence of its claims of downing a Pakistani F-16 in an air battle on February 27.

Earlier in the day, Indian Air Force (IAF) had claimed that it was in possession of “irrefutable” evidence to prove that its vintage MiG-21 Bison shot down a Pakistan Air Force’s modern F-16 combat jet in the aerial engagement. The ISPR DG responded by saying, “Repetitions don’t make truth of a lie.”

“Despite claiming possession of evidence on shooting F16, IAF still short of presenting it,” Maj Gen Ghafoor said on Twitter. “Don’t overlook Pakistan’s silence for not drum beating losses on Indian side. Fact is that PAF shot down two IAF jets, wreckage seen on ground by all.”

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