ISLAMABAD, Dec 13: Indian planes violated Pakistan’s airspace on Saturday, but fighters of the Pakistan Air Force chased them away, military as well as civilian officials confirmed late in the night.
Air Commodre Humayun Viqar Zephyr, a PAF spokesman, told Dawn that the Indian planes intruded into Pakistan’s airspace in Azad Kashmir and Lahore sectors, but left as soon as they sighted the PAF jets.
He said there was no cause for concern as the PAF was “fully alive to the situation and capable of giving a befitting reply in case of a misadventure”.
Official sources said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were immediately informed about the incident and the matter was taken up with the Indian authorities.
Information Minister Sherry Rehman confirmed that Islamabad had got in touch with authorities in New Delhi, implicitly conceding that the violation did take place. But she hastened to add that Indians had done it inadvertently.
Analysts, however, described as ‘meaningful’ the ‘inadvertent’ intrusion of Pakistan’s airspace in two different sectors on the same day for the first time in recent memory.
They termed it a deliberate attempt on the part of India to create a war hysteria instead of responding positively to Pakistan’s offers of cooperation in investigations into the Mumbai carnage.
CJCSC MEETS PRESIDENT: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Tariq Majeed, called on President Asif Ali Zardari here on Saturday and discussed professional matters with him.
Sources said the situation in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks came under discussion during the meeting.
They said Gen Majeed briefed the president on the state of preparedness of the armed forces.
TROOPS ON THE MOVE?: A number of people travelling between Lahore and Rawalpindi over the past two days have come up with claims that a heavy redeployment by the army was under way.
“Long convoys of military trucks are heading towards Lahore from Jehlum,” Jawad Khan, a motorist, told Dawn.