The Foreign Office on Friday summoned the Indian envoy to register Pakistan's protest over the unprovoked violation of its airspace by an Indian origin "super-sonic flying object" two nights ago, saying such "irresponsible incidents" reflected the neighbouring country's "disregard for air safety and callousness towards regional peace and stability".
It also called for a thorough and transparent investigation of the incident, the results of which should be shared with Pakistan.
A day earlier, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar shared details of an Indian "high-speed flying object" that fell in Mian Channu, Khanewal district on Wednesday night.
"On March 9, at 6:43pm, a high-speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). From its initial course, the object suddenly manoeuvred towards Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan's air space, ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6:50pm," he disclosed.
"When it fell, it damaged civilian properties," he said, adding no loss of life was reported.
Air Vice Marshall Tariq Zia, who addressed the press conference alongside the DG ISPR, told the media that at the time the projectile was picked up, there were two airway routes active and several commercial airlines were in the area.
"If you look at the speed and height of the projectile, it was 40,000 feet high, and the airlines were between 35,000 to 42,000 feet. This could have been very detrimental to the safety of passengers."
The projectile travelled 124 kilometres inside Pakistani territory in three minutes and 44 seconds, he added.
In a statement issued today, the Foreign Office said it was conveyed to the Indian envoy that the "imprudent launch of the flying object not only caused damage to civilian property but also put at risk human lives on ground". The trajectory of the projectile also endangered the lives of people travelling on domestic and international aeroplanes and could have resulted in a serious aviation accident as well as civilian casualties, the statement said.
"The Indian [envoy] was told to convey to the Government of India Pakistan's strong condemnation of this blatant violation of Pakistani airspace in contravention of the established international norms and aviation safety protocols. Such irresponsible incidents are also reflective of India's disregard for air safety and callousness towards regional peace and stability," the FO added.
It warned India to be mindful of the "unpleasant consequences of such negligence" and asked it to take effective measures to ensure that such violations do not occur in the future.
'Next step to be decided after Indian explanation'
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said he was "concerned" about the incident, adding that the international community and aviation bodies should take notice.
In a statement, Qureshi said India had endangered innocent lives by violating Pakistan's airspace as flights of Saudi and Qatar airlines, as well as domestic flights, could have been hit.
The foreign minister said Pakistan would decide its next step after receiving India's explanation, adding that envoys of P-5 countries (permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) will be called to the Foreign Office and briefed about the incident.
"India will have to be answerable for this," he stressed.
He recalled that Pakistan had given a befitting response to India's violation on February 26, referring to Pakistan's shooting down of two Indian planes three years ago after they entered the country's airspace.
"We do not support aggression but we defended earlier and will defend in the future as well," Qureshi added.
Other political leaders also condemned the incident with PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari terming it "unacceptable".
Pakistan "has always sought peace & stability in the region, & has not tried to either trigger or escalate a crisis. However, unilateral aggression from India can & should be responded in kind," he tweeted.
"Together we all Pakistanis strongly condemn the Indian violation of Pakistan's airspace — once again," Senator Faisal Javed said.
"Hats off to our #ArmedForces for tracking & monitoring the complete flight path of the Indian projectile entering our airspace & violating intl conventions," he added.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar also appreciated the PAF's response, saying they had "once again demonstrated their readiness to keep nation safe from any threat".