ISLAMABAD: A group of foreign media persons, mostly from India, and ambassadors and defence attachés of various countries in Pakistan on Wednesday visited the impact site of the botched Indian air strike near Jabba in the Balakot area of Mansehra district on Feb 26.

Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor briefed the group about details of the incident, rejecting repeated false Indian claims and presenting ground realities. The visitors were shown craters created by the botched Indian air strike in barren open spaces with no loss to life or infrastructure.

The group also visited a nearby madressah which, according to India claims, had been “hit by the air strike leading to killing scores of terrorists”. According to the ISPR, the visitors freely interacted with children studying at the seminary and their teachers and saw for themselves that the madressah stood on ground untouched with only innocent local children receiving education there.

“The seminary building is intact and payloads released by Indian aircraft couldn’t cause any sort of damage or even cracks to it,” a local told the visiting media persons.

During the visit of the international media persons and diplomats, over 200 students were getting Shariat and Quranic education at the seminary.

The Indian aircraft, after facing timely and effective response from the Pakistan Air Force, had ended up releasing payload in haste while escaping, which fell near Jabba.

The ISPR DG reiterated that India, instead of pursuing false claims, should accept the reality and act as a responsible state for peace in the region, and especially look inward to identify reasons for out-of-hand situation inside India-held Kashmir.

Later, the group visited the Army Public School in Swat, a state-of-the- art education facility established by the Pakistan Army as a gift for resilient people of Swat in recognition of their contributions and sacrifices in defeating terrorism as terrorists had specially targeted educational institutions during the unrest.

The group also visited Sabaoon De-radicalisation Centre in Malakand, a rehabilitation facility for treating indoctrinated juvenile and helping them return to normal life.

Nisar Ahmed Khan from Mansehra also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2019