Dubai: Do you know where Balakot is?
For the Indian Air Force has claimed it has bombed it. There is a huge confusion on where Balakot is located.
There are two areas called Balakot. The main Balakot, town which is known to the world, is located in Mansehra district of Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan and it is outside the territory of Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
The second Balakot where the Indian Air Force struck is a small village located around 4 to 5km from the Line of Control (LoC) in the Pakistan side of Kashmir. This area is mostly under the control of Pakistan army as the civilian population has already been moved out of the area due to the fear of border clashes, a highly placed official told Gulf News.
He said the Indian Air Force did not enter Balakot town in KPK. The strike was reported in Balakot village near the LOC.
Balakot Town in KPK was actually razed to the ground during the 2005 earthquake and it was rebuilt over the years. It is one of the major tourist spots in Pakistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is currently chairing an emergency meeting
Pakistan government is discussing the option to respond to the Indian Air Force violation of the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is currently chairing an emergency meeting to review the emerging situation following the Indian claim of hitting a Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp in Pakistan.
The high level meeting is being attended by the top civil and military leadership, including Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa, Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Qureshi has already briefed the meeting on the current situation in the aftermath of the LoC violation. The military leadership apprised the meeting regarding their preparedness to deal with any situation, sources added. The meeting also discussed the future plan of action following the violation, according to reports.
Qureshi is expected to address a press conference following the meeting.
Tension on Pakistan-India borders has been at an all-time high in recent years especially on the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir between Indian and Pakistan since the Pulwama attack.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Response
Ahead of PM Imran's meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi chaired an emergency consultative meeting at the Foreign Office. Speaking to the media after the meeting, the foreign minister said Pakistan holds the right to self-defence and a befitting response to Indian aggression.
“We kept on telling the world that this could happen… they [India] carried out aggression against Pakistan today. India violated the LoC [today]. Pakistan holds the right to self-defence and a befitting response,” Qureshi added.
During the meeting, Qureshi had said that Pakistan desires peace but India is deteriorating the regional situation. He added that India is bent on disturbing peace in the region, and that the entire region stands with the Pakistan Army.
In a statement following the LoC violation, Qureshi has warned India not to challenge Pakistan and said that better sense should prevail in Delhi.
He said that Pakistan reserves the right to deliver an appropriate response and the right to self-defence.
The foreign minister said the nation should not be worried over the Indian act as the defenders of the country are fully prepared to respond to any misadventure.
Pakistan military response
Earlier on Tuesday, India claims to have struck 'biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot' killing several people. However, Pakistan denied any casualties.
Pakistan Army spokesperson and Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor confirmed that the IAF had "violated the LoC". He said that as Indian planes had intruded from Muzaffarabad, the Pakistan Air Force "immediately scrambled".
"Indian aircrafts' intrusion across LoC in Muzafarabad sector within Azad Jammu and Kashmir was three to four miles. Under forced hasty withdrawal, aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties," Major General Ghafoor added.