IAF strike in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Islamabad has ‘right to respond’ to India’s ‘aggression’, says Pakistan

NEW DELHI:Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said India had committed “aggression” by violating the Line of Control (LoC) and that Islamabad had the “right to respond”.

His remarks came after combat jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed terror camps across the LoC on the Pakistani side in a pre-dawn strike.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was chairing an “important meeting” to discuss the situation, sources here said.

India’s air strikes came 12 days after the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out the Pulwama attack in Kashmir.

In Islamabad, Foreign Minister Qureshi said India has violated the LoC and Pakistan has the right to respond.

“First, they committed aggression against Pakistan today. It is a violation of the LoC. I consider it a violation of the LoC, and Pakistan has right to give a suitable response in self defence,” he told reporters after an “emergency meeting” with high-level officials at the Foreign Office (FO) for consultations.

Mr. Qureshi briefed Prime Minister Khan after the meeting at the FO.

Earlier, the Pakistan Army alleged that the Indian Air Force (IAF) violated the Line of Control (LoC) in Muzafarabad Sector.

“Indian aircraft intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, said in a tweet.

“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control Pakistan. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircraft gone back,” he tweeted.

Senator Sherry Rehman, a leading opposition leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, said that “Indian incursion” across the LOC was strategically “ill-advised and tactically pointless”.

“Such moves only ratchet up tensions in a region bristling with anger.

“Obvious that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s election wardrums make prospects for talks collateral damage. India’s ruling party sees no other way to win the elections hence, itching for war,” Rehman said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Pakistani media has reported that the Indian government staged a symbolic intrusion due to domestic pressure.

Prime Minister Khan has not commented on the issue.

Source: Press Trust of India

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