Published: Fri, March 01, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Pakistan Releases Video Showing India's Injured Pilot in Its Custody

Pakistan Releases Video Showing India's Injured Pilot in Its Custody

Pakistan's foreign ministry statement said: "This was not a retaliation to continued Indian belligerence". It has been confirmed that the video Pakistani media is showing on their national news channel on Wednesday is an old one, where a MiG crashed in Jodhpur district in 2016. The pilot is missing in action. It says the Pakistanis have "no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm".

A day earlier, the army spokesperson said that the prime minister had asked everyone to get ready for every eventuality.

On Wednesday, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told state-run Pakistan Television he was in touch with his counterparts across the world about the "Indian aggression", adding that New Delhi had endangered peace in the region by Tuesday's airstrike on Pakistan.

Both countries have ordered airstrikes over the last two days, the first time in history that two nuclear armed powers have done so, while ground forces have exchanged fire in more than a dozen locations. "So it's an extremely risky situation".

Pakistan has promised to retaliate to Tuesday's air strikes, and security across India has been tightened. Tensions are mounting between the two countries.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on India and Pakistan to avoid further military activity.

"I also encouraged both ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity", said the USA top diplomat.

Earlier, the European Union called for a de-escalation of tensions after Indian warplanes violated Pakistan's airspace in a pre-dawn attack on Tuesday.

"I would encourage direct dialogue between both countries to endeavour to resolve these matters in a peaceful way".

Pakistan closed its airspace Wednesday, the civil aviation authority and the military said, as fears spiked of an all-out conflict with nuclear-armed neighbour India.

The Pakistani foreign ministry said: "Today, Pakistan Air Force undertook strikes across Line of Control from within Pakistani airspace". At least six airports were shuttered in India, and a vast area north of New Delhi was closed to civilian flights.

While confirming that payloads from Indian jets fell in Balakot, Pakistan has downplayed the incursion by describing it as across the Line of Control, the de facto border in Kashmir, rather than across its global border.

"All civilian flight operation (have been) suspended", the official said. "If that were the case, we could have easily engaged the target, which our Air Force had locked".

Police said they were still going through the wreckage and did not immediately identify the victims.

An AFP journalist who visited the site where the military and residents said the payload was dropped could see a large crater and trees snapped in half, and three mud houses, one with a collapsed wall, nearby.

Even Taliban leaders have spoken out against the tensions, warning that they were "not good" for the region, adding that they had "deep sympathy with government and people of Pakistan".

Major General Asif Ghafoor said one of the captured Indian pilots is injured and is being treated in a military hospital, while the other pilot is in custody. But, Pakistan disputes the claim, saying none were killed.

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