–FO says allegations are attempt to divert attention from human rights abuses in Kashmir
–Army says fully prepared to respond to any misadventure by India
ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Tuesday rejected a statement by Indian army chief Gen Bipin Rawat, in which he had claimed that a “terrorist camp” in Balakot had been “reactivated” and that “500 terrorists” were moving towards India.
In a statement, the FO spokesperson, Mohammad Faisal, said: “Indian allegations that Pakistan is [trying to] infiltrate [the border] are an attempt to divert the international community’s attention from the grave violations in occupied Kashmir.”
“Balakot has been reactivated. Balakot was affected, damaged and destroyed. The action had been taken by the Indian Air Force and now they are reactivated,” Gen Rawat was reported as saying by the Indian media. “We have a minimum number of 500 people. Depending on the weather pattern they keep moving. As the temperature keeps falling, they move. Figures keep fluctuating depending on where terrorists are. We have taken measures and put in more troops along Line of Control.”
He did not provide any evidence to back his claims.
In the statement released by the Foreign Office today, Dr Faisal said: “Indian statements and measures are a threat to regional peace and stability.
“India will not succeed in misleading the international community by using these negative tactics.”
Separately, Pakistan Army also issued a statement, dismissing the Indian army chief’s remarks “irresponsible”.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor rubbished said that the statements “are [an] expression of their frustration due to their failure to handle situation in IOJ&K [Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir] and attempts to divert world’s attention from Indian state terrorism and siege of IOJ&K”.
Amid the tensed regional situation following the Indian decision to strip occupied Kashmir of its special status on Aug 5, the chief military spokesperson noted that the “accusations of infiltration/presence of alleged terrorists camps [in Balakot] are [a] pretext for a false flag operation/misadventure,” adding that, “which, if tried, shall have serious consequences for regional peace.”
“Pak Armed Forces are fully prepared to respond to any aggression/misadventure regardless of cost.”
Accusations of infiltration/presence of alleged terrorists camps are pretext for a false flag operation/misadventure which if tried shall have serious consequences for regional peace.Pak Armed Forces are fully prepared to respond to any aggression/misadventure regardless of cost.
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) September 24, 2019
A day earlier, General Rawat said that the camp in Balakot had been “reactivated” and that “500 terrorists” were ready to “infiltrate” into Indian occupied Kashmir.
“Balakot has been reactivated. Balakot was affected, damaged and destroyed. The action had been taken by the Indian Air Force and now they are reactivated,” he had said.
“We have a minimum number of 500 people. Depending on the weather pattern they keep moving. As the temperature keeps falling, they move. Figures keep fluctuating depending on where terrorists are. We have taken measures and put in more troops along Line of Control.”
In February this year, the Indian government had said that its air force had killed “a very large number” of militants in Pakistan and destroyed a “terrorist camp” run by banned outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad in Balakot by carrying out airstrikes. However, it failed to provide any evidence to back the claim.
India had said the camp hosted members of JeM, responsible for a suicide car bombing in occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed over 40 paramilitary soldiers.
Pakistan had denied the suicide bomb was carried out from its soil. It also said no such camps were hit or operated in the area. The next day, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two intruding Indian fighter jets during a dogfight and took an Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, prisoner. He was later released as a gesture of peace.
India’s claims were called into question by local and international media, which noted that the warplanes had only managed to destroy a few trees.
[…] This incident occurred seven months after the Indian Air Force fighter jets ventured into Pakistani airspace with the intent to carry out destruction in Balakot. The botched Balakot strike remains infamous for its success in martyring two Pakistani trees, while New Delhi claims the destruction of alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad “terror camps”. […]
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