Tag: Pulwama attack

Why Pakistan needed 40 days to open Balakot ‘madrasa’ to journalists?

Balakot

Balakot hilltop in Pakistan (Image credit: UttamHindu)

Pakistani authorities on Wednesday opened the facility, ostensibly a madrasa, on the hilltop of Balakot to a group of journalists of foreign media houses, as well as foreign diplomats, a good 43 days after the airstrike by Indian Air Force (IAF).

Indian Air Force on February 26 crossed over the international border with Pakistan and pounded Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist camp atop Balakot hill. The government said the action was taken after intelligence inputs revealed that Jaish was training suicide bombers in the facility there to carry out terror attacks on Indian soil.

Earlier on February 14, a Jaish terrorist rammed an explosives laden vehicle into the convoy of CRPF jawans, killing 40 of them in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan claimed no real damage to the facility or people from the airstrike, but prevented foreign journalists from reaching hilltop. Finally, Pakistan’s military organised a trip for the group consisting of journalists and foreign diplomats.

BBC Urdu reported that the group was flown in a helicopter from Islamabad up to the base of the hill. Many in the group reached hill top after trekking about 90 minutes, climbing steep slopes on the way. They were shown some craters supposedly created by the misled missiles in the IAF airstrike.

However, they were not allowed enough time to make fair assessment of the impact of the airstrike. Their movements were restricted to the main building of the madrasa where about 100 children were seen reciting passages from the Quran, rhythmically swaying their heads back and forth.

Some of the diplomats said giving a restricted access after six weeks made it difficult draw any definite conclusion.

India’s Defense Minister Nirmala Sitaraman responded to the visit with a cryptic remark Pakistan needed 40 days to whitewash the facility. Here is her tweet:

 

Advertisements

Sam Pitroda refuses to blame Pakistan for Pulwama attacks

Sam Pitroda
Sam Pitroda

Congress’s Indian overseas head Sam Pitroda, who helped refurbish the image of party’s national president Rahul Gandhi on Friday waded into a huge controversy by underplaying magnitude of Pulwama terror attacks and questioning the veracity of the Balakot airstrikes.

Referring to the Pulwama attack in a chat with news agency ANI, Pitroda said, “Don’t know much about attacks. It happens all the time. Attack happened in Mumbai also, we could have then reacted and just sent our planes but that is not right approach. According to me that’s not how you deal with world.”

At least 40 CRPF cops died in Pulwama when a Kashmiri terrorist belonging to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist outfit rammed anexplosives-lades vehicle into the bus carrying these cops on February 14, 2019.

Referring to the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Sam Pitroda said: “Eight people come and do something, you don’t jump on entire nation (Pakistan).Naive to assume that just because some people came and attacked, every citizen of that nation is to be blamed. I don’t believe in that way”.

About 174 people, including nationals of several countries had died in the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai’s iconic Taj Hotel and other places in 2008.

Incidentally, several retired military officers have now revealed that Indian forces wanted to carry out airstrikes on LeT terror camps post in Pakistan 26/11, but couldn’t as the government of the day didn’t allow it.

With regard to the airstrikes carried out by Indian Air Force on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019, Pitroda said: “I would like to know a little more because I read reports in the New York Times and other newspapers. Did we really attack? We really killed 300 people? I don’t know that. As a citizen, I am entitled to know and if I ask it is my duty to ask, that doesn’t mean I’m not a nationalist, That doesn’t mean I am on this side or that side. We need to know the facts. If you say 300 people were killed, I need to know that”.

Post Pulwama attack, the US, the UK and France had moved a proposal in the Un Security Council to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. But China blocked the move that was backed by all other 14 member countries. However, several countries have since put a freeze on Masood Azhar’s assets.