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Tough times not yet over: PAF chief

March 05, 2019

Muhammad Anis *** Monitoring report

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan who visited forward operating air bases of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) lauded the high level of motivation and sound professionalism displayed by PAF personnel during the air operations against the enemy.

The air chief met the combat and ground crew, air defence and engineering personnel, security troops and civilian staff deployed at the bases. Cautioning the personnel, he said, "The challenges are not over yet and we should keep our guards up and always be ready to respond to any aggression from the adversary."

Interacting with the personnel, he lauded the high level of motivation and sound professionalism displayed by PAF personnel during recent air operations against the enemy. "We bow our heads in complete humility and express our gratitude to Almighty Allah for giving us strength to come up to the expectations of our resilient nation,” he said.

He further said the entire nation is proud of PAF which did exceptionally well in safeguarding the sovereignty of our country in the recent conflict with the enemy. On the other hand, Pakistan has learnt that India and Israel were jointly planning to launch a missile attack on Pakistan on February 27, the government sources Monday said.

But Pakistan warned of severe retaliation against any aggression on its soil, high-level sources informed senior journalist and host of Geo News’ Capital Talk Hamid Mir on Monday. “High-level sources have informed us that there was a plan to attack 7-8 places in Pakistan from a base in Rajasthan, India,” Hamid Mir told Geo News.

He said that after learning of this attack, Pakistan’s security agencies warned their counterparts in India that Islamabad was ready and if there would be an attack, the magnitude of Pakistan’s response would be thrice as much.

Prior to these events, Prime Minister Imran Khan in Parliament had announced the country’s decision to release captured Indian pilot Abhinandan. High-level sources also informed Hamid Mir of a second misadventure by India to attack Pakistan with missiles. To foil this attack Pakistan had sent a message to India via third countries that if there was an attack there would be a strong response.

During his address in Parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan also pointed out that there were threats of a missile attack the previous night and Pakistan’s forces were fully prepared to retaliate, but the situation was defused.

Mir said at present there was no direct contact between Islamabad and New Delhi, but indirectly there had been contact between personalities from both the countries. “High-level government sources have told us that security agencies of Pakistan and India remain in contact despite the tension. There was also contact on the night of February 27-28,” Mir added.

The senior journalist also spoke on his high-level government sources informing him of threats of India carrying out terrorist attacks in cities of Pakistan including Karachi. Mir further said his sources had informed him that India would not cross the international border but terrorist attacks would be carried out in cities of Pakistan. “This information has been shared with friendly countries,” Mir added.

The senior journalist further said that although tension had decreased, Pakistan’s armed forces and security agencies remained on high-alert. “The situation changed after Pakistan released the Indian pilot and Islamabad received support on the diplomatic level.”

According to Hamid Mir, first it was only Saudi Arabia, Turkey and US which were involved but over the last two days, the role of British Prime Minister Theresa May in defusing the tension had been immense.

“Friendly countries and international players have been informed by Pakistan that the country’s actions show we want peace and have given proof of this by releasing the Indian pilot and now Modi needs to take steps that show India also wants peace,” Mir said.

Speaking on the Indian dossier on Pulwama attack, Mir said the dossier did not contain any actionable evidence on the basis of which Pakistan could take action against JeM or Masood Azhar. According to Mir’s high-level sources, the government in December 2018 decided on a plan to bring banned organisations into the mainstream.

While talking to Hamid Mir in Geo’s Capital Talks, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday that the Pakistan Army’s alertness prevented possible Indian attack at five sites inside the country.

The foreign minister said that the situation was improving at the Line of Control (LoC) compare to the previous days.

The foreign minister said that had the previous government implemented National Action Plan with its due spirit, Pakistan would not have been in the FATF’s grey list. “Time has come to do what is in Pakistan’s interest,” he said. “We have to make a decision with political consensus. The international community has got the message that Pakistan wants peace.”

The foreign minister said that the Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has asked for documentary evidence from the Modi government. “Their version has been exposed as they have admitted that two of their jets were struck down.”

The foreign minister said that Pakistan wants friendly relations with India but Kashmir is the main bone of contention between the neighbouring states. He said that Pakistan is well aware of relations between Israel and India. “They have been in contact for long and share intelligence reports with each other,” he said.

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