Pakistan continues with its bundle of contradictions! Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the terror outfit which had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack, does not exist in Pakistan, Pak military spokesperson has been quoted as saying in a PTI report.
This remark comes just days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi acknowledged that JeM chief Masood Azhar is in the country. Relations between India and Pakistan have worsened after Pakistan-based JeM said it was responsible for the Pulwama attack on February 14 which killed over 40 CRPF personnel.
According to the report, when Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan was asked by CNN if both countries were close to war post the attack, he said, “We were I would say close to war because when they [India] violated the airspace under token aggression, we went for response.”
Ghafoor added that the troops from both countries were “eyeball-to-eyeball” along the Line of Control (LoC) and that there was a presence of troops from both sides at the LoC for decades now. “But post the Indian aggression and our response, the safeguards have been taken by both side,” Ghafoor said on the situation along the LoC.
IAF strike on JeM training camp in Balakot
Post the Pulwama attack, tensions between the two neighbouring nations reached its peak as the Indian Air Force (IAF) in a “non-military, preemptive” airstrike on February 26, hit JeM’s biggest training camp in Balakot, which is said to be deep inside Pakistan. The following day, Pakistan Air Force violated Indian airspace.
An IAF MiG-21 engaged in a dog fight with Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 fighter jet. IAF says that the MiG-21 shot down the F-16, but in the process took a hit too and IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan. He was handed over to India two days later.
According to the report, Ghafoor claimed the IAF airstrike did not cause any damage or casualties. He said, “Their [Indian] claims are false”. He also insisted that the JeM’s claim of responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack was not made from inside Pakistan.
“Jaish-e-Mohammed does not exist in Pakistan. It has been proscribed by the United Nations and Pakistan also.” Ghafoor also claimed that Pakistan “was not doing anything under anybody’s pressure.”
JeM chief Masood Azhar is in Pakistan: Shah Mahmood Qureshi
In February, Qureshi in an interview to CNN, had admitted that JeM chief Masood Azhar is in Pakistan. He said that the Pakistan government will act against Azhar only if India gives a “solid” and “inalienable” evidence which could stand in a court of law.
Ghafoor said instead of blaming Pakistan, it is time for the world to assist and facilitate Pakistan in getting rid of such organisations.
On Pakistan’s release of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman as a gesture of peace, Major General Ghafoor stated, “Now it is up to India whether they take that peace gesture and move forward towards de-escalation or continue the agenda that they have.” “We feel that now the ball is in the Indian court. Should they decide to escalate more, the situation will go bad,” Ghafoor said.