Srinagar, Feb 26 : Asserting that Balakot airstrike by Indian Air Force (IAF) jets was a huge embarrassment for Pakistan as it was deep inside the neighbouring country, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said it is a totally new ballgame as 'it was a preemptive strike to prevent an imminent Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) attack'.
However, he said, ‘now we have an obligation to ensure that our people living near the international border and Line of Control (LoC) are not caught in any Pakistani response’.
“So it is Balakot in KPK. That’s a strike deep inside Pakistan & is hugely embarrassing for them. Regardless of what the other side may claim was or wasn’t hit the planes crossed over, dropped their payload & flew back completely unscathed,” Mr Abdullah, who is National Conference (NC) Vice President, wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.
Mr Abdullah said after Abbotabad, the line they took was ‘we are primed to look East to prevent any Indian attacks and that’s how the Americans got through’. “So where were they looking now,” Mr Abdullah asked.
The NC Vice President said that India has entered a whole new paradigm with the Balakote air strike. “The post Uri strike was to avenge our losses, Balakot was a “preemptive strike to prevent an imminent JeM attack”. Totally new ballgame,” he tweeted.
Mr Abdullah said there are a number of firsts associated with Balakot airstrike by IAF. “A number of firsts from Balakote, the two most obvious are the first time air power has been used to strike inside Pakistan during peace times (last time in 1971 was during war) & first time visible, acknowledged use of force to preempt a perceived terror strike,” he tweeted.
Taking a jibe at Pakistan over a tweet posted by official twitter handle of Pakistan Defence, which read, “Sleep tight because PAF is awake. #PakistanZindabad”, Mr Abdullah said, “This one will be filed under “tweets we wish we hadn’t put out but can’t delete now”. Don’t worry we all have them just not on this scale perhaps.”
“Now we have an obligation to ensure that our people living near the international border & line of control are not caught in any Pakistani response. Local administrations need to be ready to evacuate & rehouse people to safe areas if situation escalates,” he said.
“I’m in touch with my party colleagues in frontier areas to lend all possible help & assistance, both to the administration as well as to any people caught up in any Pakistani misadventure,” Mr Abdullah said.
“It’s sitting in Srinagar offloading paramilitary forces to deal with internal security & election duty. Has nothing to do with the airstrike into Pakistan this morning,” he said, adding that “As reports of air strikes across the LoC by IAF planes gather steam looks like our defences are in the air including this airborne early warning aircraft. Appears to be patrolling the international border”.
He said, “The problem now becomes PM Imran Khan’s commitment to his country - “Pakistan will not think about responding, Pakistan WILL respond”. What shape will response take? Where will response be? Will India have to respond to Pakistan’s response?”.
IAF fighter jets went across to the LoC early on Tuesday morning and destroyed a terror camp Pakistan’s Balakot, reports said. Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale in a press briefing in New Delhi said that a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot was destroyed, and a large number of terrorists were eliminated. (UNI)