In a massive embarrassment for Pakistan, former Pakistani diplomat Agha Hilaly openly admitted that India’s Balakot airstrike in 2019 had neutralized 300 in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district. Leaving the Imran Khan-led government red-faced amidst its refusal to acknowledge the presence of terrorists killed at the JeM base, the former Pakistani diplomat while speaking during a debate on a Pakistani Urdu channel blamed India for conducting ‘an act of war’ after its airstrike killed ‘at least 300’ on Pakistani soil.
“India crossed the international border and did an act of war in which at least 300 were reported dead. Our target was different from theirs. We targeted their high command. That was our legitimate target because they are men of the military. We subconsciously accepted that a surgical strike — a limited action — did not result in any casualty. Now we have subconsciously told them that, whatever they will do, we’ll do only that much and won’t escalate,” said Agha Hilaly.
This massive admission by the former Pakistan diplomat comes months after the Balakot airstrike’s impact in Pakistan was highlighted through PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq’s statements in the Pakistan National Assembly. The leader had stated that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was ‘sweating’ and ‘shivering’, begging to return back Captain Abhinandan to India, fearing that ‘India would attack at 9 PM’ in retaliation. The 37-year-old Indian Air Force pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat a day after the Balakot airstrike.
Balakot Air Strikes
Days after the Pulwama terror attack that shook our nation, India on February 26, 2019, pounded Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) biggest training camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province at Balakot in Pakistan by carrying out coordinated airstrikes. In a pinpointed and swift airstrike that lasted less than two minutes, officials stated that the IAF targeted 350 terrorists and trainers.
The “preemptive and non-military” action by India came days after the Pulwama terror attack where India lost 40 CRPF jawans to a Pakistan-sponsored attack on Indian soil. Addressing the attacks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ‘those responsible will pay a very heavy price’ and ‘security forces will be given a free hand to deal with terrorists.’
(With Agency Inputs)