ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army on Tuesday rubbished Indian claims of an attack on its soil which New Delhi said had resulted in “heavy casualties”.
“Not even a single brick or debris is present there. They are claiming 350 deaths. Even had there been 10 casualties, there would be blood, funeral prayers, injuries,” the Express Tribune quoted Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), as saying in a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.
The military spokesperson refuted claims that Pakistan Army Force (PAF) was not ready to deal with any Indian misadventure. “We were ready, we responded, we denied,” he said. “It is your [India] turn now to wait and get ready for our surprise.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor said the Indian aircraft were chased away by PAF jets, which were immediately scrambled to thwart any aggressive move by the country’s eastern neighbour.
His reaction came hours after the National Security Committee, convened by Prime Minister Imran Khan, strongly rejected Indian claims, saying New Delhi had “resorted to a self-serving, reckless and fictitious claim”.
The meeting, which was attended by top civil-military leadership, resolved to respond “at the time and place of its choosing”.
“Today, the prime minister has asked everyone to get ready for every eventuality. We are all ready. Now it is time for India to wait for our response,” he asserted.
“The response will come at a point and time of our choosing where our civil military leadership decides, and as a matter of fact, has decided,” Ghafoor added.
“We have already exposed India and will do it again so the world knows what exactly India wants.”
Indian military planes had violated the LoC early on Tuesday, intruding from the Muzaffarabad sector, following which “Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled” and Indian aircraft went back, the ISPR DG had shared via Twitter.
According to DawnNews, the ISPR DG started with a presentation, debunking claims made by India that the country’s air force had “struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot”.
“They are claiming that they remained in the Pakistani airspace for 21 minutes and killed 350 terrorists. They claim that the second strike was in Muzaffarabad and the third in Chakothi.
“Allah almighty is the greatest and we should not make tall claims, but come and try to spend 21 minutes in Pakistani airspace,” challenged Maj Gen Ghafoor.
“According to war methodology, our entire Air Force could not have stayed airborne. Our safeguards on land were in place. So if they had tried an on-ground incursion, they would have met the response that we had planned.
“Last night, our radars were observing them. They had earlier come closer to our border but did not cross it. Last night, their first visibility was observed near the Sialkot and Lahore border. They were seen approaching the border. Our Combat Air Patrol (CAP) team approached and challenged them. They did not cross.
“As per the SOP (standard operating procedure), when the first team got committed there, the next CAP team automatically was airborne. During this, another one of their formation was picked in Bahawalpur sector. The second standby team went down south and challenged it. We then observed that the more heavier of their teams was approaching Muzaffarabad sector from Kiran Valley. When our third CAP team challenged them, they had crossed the LoC.
“Their approaching of the border, the challenge and their return took four minutes,” said the ISPR DG.
“A lie has no feet to stand on. You saw their first ‘surgical strike’. I told them [India] that you will never be able to surprise us. We have not been surprised. We were ready, we responded.
“I said that we will surprise you. Wait for that surprise. I said that our response will be different. The response will come differently. We are a democracy. You have proved that you are not a democracy. You have chosen a path of war without knowing the consequence for the peace and stability of the region. We have fought for 50 years for this peace.
“There is a joint session of the parliament tomorrow and then the prime minister has summoned a meeting of the National Command Authority [country’s top nuclear body]. I hope you know what the NCA means and what it constitutes.”
When asked why the Indians were not shot down, Maj Gen Ghafoor said he wished they had remained in Pakistan for some more time. “Had India taken the decision to attack military targets, it could have done so from a stand-off distance too. It could have aimed without crossing the LoC. Their target was just to take a dry run.
“We have thousands of seminaries. They could have picked one, fired at it, and the casualties of our students would have made it easier to portray their lie as truth. They could have painted them as terrorists.”
When asked if Pakistan’s response would be in military terms or diplomatic, the ISPR DG said: “Whenever a country responds, it does so in all domains.”
When asked if India’s claim of 350 casualties has been backed by any another country, the army spokesperson questioned whether India itself had “shown anything or backed the claim”. “The clip that they are showing is the one that has existed on YouTube for 2-3 years,” he said.