“I said that we will surprise you. Wait for that surprise. I said that our response will be different. Now it is time for India to wait for our response,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan Army
On Feb. 26, 2019 Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage 2000 fighter jets launched airstrikes across Indian border with Pakistan against Muslim separatist militants who conducted a terror attack in Kashmir which killed 40 Indian troops.
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) and Spokesperson for Pakistan Army Major General Asif Ghafoor, said that IAF Mirage 2000s dropped four bombs inside Pakistani territory and flew away after Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighters were scrambled to intercept them.
“The Indian forces wanted to target the civilian areas,” he said. “I had called you all (journalists) so that I would have taken you all there and shown you the reality on the ground. But unfortunately I cannot take you there by air right now due to the weather conditions,” he said.
“Not even a single brick or debris is present there. They are claiming 350 deaths. Even had there been 10 casualties, there would be blood, funeral prayers, injuries,” the spokesperson said.
“The spot is open for anybody and everybody—for all ambassadors, defence attaches, United Nations UN military observer group in Pakistan…even the civilian population or the army representatives from India. They can come through the authorised entry in Pakistan and see it for yourself, go back and tell your prime minister: Where is that impact?”
“We will respond differently and we will surprise you (India),” Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
He added that PAF fighters were ready and waiting before the Indian aircraft intruded Pakistani airspace.
“I said three things: You will never be able to surprise us. We have not been surprised. We were ready, we responded, we denied. I said we will retain the escalation ladder. We have that initiative in our hand,” he said.
“I said that we will surprise you. Wait for that surprise. I said that our response will be different. See it for yourself. The response will come, and response will come differently,” he said.
Maj-Gen Ghafoor said Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting of the National Command Authority (NCA) following the joint session of Parliament scheduled for Wednesday.
He said that in the meeting today, the prime minister alerted the armed forces, all elements of national power, and the 207 million population of Pakistan to “get ready for any eventuality.”
“The nation is ready. You have seen the response of all the political parties. We are all one. Now it is time for India to wait for our response. The response will come at the point and time of our choosing where our civil military leadership decides, and, as a matter of fact, has decided.
“It is your turn now to wait and get ready for our surprise.”
In an earlier tweet, DG ISPR said Indian military aircraft violated the Line of Control (LoC) as they “intruded” from the Muzaffarabad sector and were forced to return owing to the timely response of the Pakistan Air Force.
“Indian aircraft intrusion across LoC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJK was 3-4 miles. Under forced hasty withdrawal aircraft released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow,” Major General Ghafoor wrote on Twitter.
He also tweeted images of the “payload of hastily escaping Indian aircraft” which “fell in [the] open.”
Following the Indian LoC violation, Pakistan’s National Security Council (NSC) held a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The NSC rejected Indian claims or targeting an alleged terrorist camp in Balakot, adding Pakistan will decide the time and place of response to the aggression.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force, Indian Air Force and Inter Services Public Relations