Pakistan takes global media, foreign diplomats to IAF strike site in Balakot

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan military on Wednesday took a group of global media personnel and foreign diplomats on a tour of a seminary and its surrounding areas in Balakot, where India carried out an air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed's training camp.

 

This was the first formal visit of foreign media and diplomats to the place about which India claimed that its strike killed hundreds of militants.

According to BBC Urdu, the group was flown from Islamabad in a helicopter to Jabba in Balakot. They take about one-and-a-half hour to reach the madrassa on the top of a mountain.

As per the report, about 150 students, aged 12-13, were present inside the seminary building and were being taught the Quran when the group reached inside the madrassa.

The group allowed to take pictures and spoke to the teachers who were present there. The visit lasted for about 20 minutes.

Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor also held chats with the reporters.

"This is an old madrassa and has always been like this," he said.

His comments indicated that Indian claim of hitting it was not true.

The purpose of organising the trip was apparently to strengthen Pakistan's claim that Indian failed to destroy any structure or kill anyone during the air strike.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was caused by a suicide bomber.

On February 14, an explosives-laden truck rammed into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama outside Srinagar, killing more than 40 soldiers in one of the biggest terror attacks in recent years.

The convoy comprised 78 buses in which around 2500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar.

On February 26, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation and attacked terror camps in Balakot area in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The air strikes come 12 days after the dreaded terror outfit-Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) carried out a debilitating attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama.

In response, On February 27, Pakistani F-16 jets violated the Line of Control and the aerial fight ensued.

Subsequently, Indian fighter jet shot down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet, which landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 and captured an Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. However, he was released on March 1st after spending nearly 60 hours in Pakistani custody.

 

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