India claims to have struck 'biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot'

Published February 26, 2019
India's Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale. — AFP
India's Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale. — AFP

India's Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale on Tuesday claimed that the country's air force "struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot".

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Gokhale said "a large number of JeM terrorists were killed".

"The strike avoided civil casualties," he alleged.

Early on Tuesday, Inter-Services Public Relations' (ISPR) Major-General Asif Ghafoor said that Indian military planes violated the Line of Control (LoC), intruding from the Muzaffarabad sector. "Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot."

"Credible intel [intelligence] was received that JeM was planning more suicide attacks in India," alleged the Indian official. "In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary."

"Top commanders were eliminated in the strike," he said, adding "the action took place just hours ago".

Dawn Exclusive: A time for restraint

However, Balakot police chief Saghir Hussain Shah told The Associated Press that he had sent teams to the area — which he described as a mostly deserted wooded area — who found "no casualties, no damages on the ground because of the dropping of the bombs”.

"Information has been provided to Pakistan from time to time [...] Pakistan has taken no concrete action," Gokhale alleged. The purported 'action' by India comes only days after Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his offer that if India provides Pakistan with "actionable intelligence" regarding the February 14 attack in occupied Kashmir's Pulwama, "we will immediately act”.

"This facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar (alias Ustad Ghouri), the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, Chief of JeM," according to Gokhale. He, however, did not provide any evidence to back claims of the alleged camp being destroyed.

Prior to the press conference, India's Cabinet Committee on Security met at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence in New Delhi, Asian News International reported.

According to Indian media reports, Modi briefed Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu after the meeting. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has also called an all-parties meeting at 5pm (India time).

Opinion

Defining sexual harassment
Updated 02 Aug 2021

Defining sexual harassment

Conduct that is rooted in gender-based discrimination and creates an abusive work environment must also be considered harassment.
Life after IMF
02 Aug 2021

Life after IMF

Some efforts have been made for reforming the IMF.

Editorial

02 Aug 2021

Row over NCSW

SOME matters are simply too important to play politics on. Protection of women’s rights is one of them....
02 Aug 2021

Mismanaging LNG

PAKISTAN’S purchase of expensive LNG cargoes for the September-October delivery in less than three weeks after...
Against their will
Updated 02 Aug 2021

Against their will

Estimates indicate that some 1,000 girls from minority communities are forcibly converted to Islam every year in Pakistan.
Necessary lockdown
Updated 01 Aug 2021

Necessary lockdown

AS the countrywide positivity ratio of Covid-19 infections crossed 8pc, Sindh imposed a nine-day lockdown effective...
01 Aug 2021

No Olympic glory

FOR about 30 minutes at the Tokyo Olympics weightlifting competition last week, Talha Talib remained in the podium...
01 Aug 2021

Preventable E-11 flooding

THE flooding on Wednesday in Islamabad’s E-11/2 sector is deserving of the shock it has spawned. The flouting of...