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We Have Written to US, European Union, UN and China on Tensions With India, Says Pakistan Foreign Minister

The foreign affairs minister in a statement said that Pakistan is against war and wants peace a day after Indian air strikes on a JeM camp in the neighbouring country.

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Updated:February 28, 2019, 11:41 AM IST
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We Have Written to US, European Union, UN and China on Tensions With India, Says Pakistan Foreign Minister
File photo of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (Image: Reuters)
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New Delhi: A day after 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC), Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Islamabad has written to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, UN general secretary, European Union and China in an effort to “defuse” the situation.

“We have written to them asking for de-escalation and to defuse the situation. We want peace,” said Qureshi on Wednesday.

The foreign affairs minister said Pakistan is against war and wants peace, but has the right to self-defence.

“Pakistan has responded to India’s strikes. It is right to retaliate if our air space is violated. India has attacked Pakistan,” he said, accusing the Indian government of ratcheting up tensions in view of upcoming elections.

India in an official statement on Tuesday had stated that IAF destroyed terror camps of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot. The air strike, which has been dubbed surgical strikes 2.0, comes two weeks after a terror attack on CRPF solidiers in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir.

Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale on Tuesday while addressing the press also confirmed the air strike and said a large number of JeM terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot. The camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar. The government said the camp was located on a hilltop, deep in a forest, and far away from any civilian presence.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s DG-ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted claiming that Pakistan shot down two Indian Air Force aircraft early on Wednesday.

“In response to PAF strikes this morning as released by MoFA, IAF crossed LOC. PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K while other fell inside IOK. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,” said his tweet.

Indian defence sources, however, rejected the claims, saying all personnel have been accounted for.

Additionally, Pakistan also claimed that Pakistan Air Force undertook strikes across Line of Control from within Pakistani airspace. “This was not a retaliation to continued Indian belligerence. Pakistan has, therefore, taken strikes at non military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage,” the statement said.

The statement further highlighted that, “the sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self-defence. We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm.”

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