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Wednesday April 17, 2024

Pakistan terms Indian diplomat’s claims on Balakot strike ‘surprising’

"Balakot airstrikes proved to be a nightmare for India, as Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian planes," FO says

By Azaz Syed
January 11, 2024
Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during the FOs weekly briefing in Islamabad on January 11, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — X/@ForeignOfficePk
Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during the FO's weekly briefing in Islamabad on January 11, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — X/@ForeignOfficePk

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has termed former Indian diplomat Ajay Bisaria's claims regarding events relating to the 2019 botched Balakot strike as "surprising".

"Such a statement from a professional diplomat is surprising," said FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch while addressing the weekly press briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

The FO spokesperson said that she hasn't read the book by Bisaria — a former high commissioner to Pakistan — and has only come across the reports regarding it in the media.

"The drama of Pulwama was staged for a political game. It reflects India's fascist mentality," she added.

Baloch further said that the Balakot airstrike proved to be a nightmare for India, as Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian planes.

A day ago, Bisaria — in his upcoming book The Anger Management: The Troubled Diplomatic Relationship between India and Pakistan — noted that on the night of February 27, a day after the Balakot airstrike conducted by the Indian Air Force, Pakistan feared an imminent attack from India.

He claimed that former prime minister Imran Khan had made a panic midnight call to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 27, 2019, following the Balakot airstrikes in a bid to avert a military crisis, reported Indian media citing the memoir of the former high commissioner to Pakistan.

Moreover, Baloch said Pakistan condemned the terrorist attack in Iran's Kerman during which dozens of people were killed after twin blasts rocked the city near the burial site of its slain military commander Qasem Soleimani.

'Govt not supporting Maulana's Kabul visit'

Commenting on the Kabul visit and meetings undertaken by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Baloch first refused to comment, but then said that the politician has gone to Afghanistan in a private capacity.

"The government of Pakistan is not supporting Maulana Fazlur Rehman's visit in this regard," she said addressing the presser.

She added that Maulana's visit is private, but the FO will seek a briefing from him about it.

The spokesperson added that Pakistan is not interested in dialogue with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). "The outlawed TTP carried out several terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. We demand that the Afghan interim government take action against the terrorists."

The FO spokesperson said that Pakistan believes in dialogue and diplomacy while commenting on the visit by Afghan Commerce Minister Nooruddin Azizi.

"Various issues were discussed during the visit of the Afghan minister of commerce." 

'Pakistan supports South Africa's plea in ICJ'

Pakistan supports the application filed by South Africa before the International Court of Justice concerning Israel's violations of its obligations under the 1951 genocide convention in relation to the Palestinian people in Gaza.

"We consider this legal action timely and an important step towards holding Israel to account for its well-documented atrocities unleashed against Palestinian people since 7th of October 2023," she said.

Pakistan shares the concerns raised in the application by South Africa, she added.

"Israel's ongoing military aggression and actions against the Palestinian people constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity and amount to genocidal acts," 

FO reiterated its call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, an end to Israel's unabated massacre of the Palestinian people and uplifting of an inhumane siege and expeditious delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in Gaza.

"Pakistan firmly believes that the only just solution to the Palestinian question is the creation of an independent viable sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital," Baloch said during the briefing.