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Pak media stick to official line on IAF's air strikes on JeM training camp


Press Trust of India Islamabad
Pakistani media gave extensive coverage to the Indian Air Force's (IAF) pre-dawn operation to destroy a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in the country and most of them stuck to the official line that the Indian fighter jets entered the Pakistani territory by 3 to 4-km without doing any damage.
Hours after the strike, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told the media in New Delhi that a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.
Official sources also said the IAF jets used a number of laser-guided bombs, each weighing over 1,000 kg, to destroy the the JeM training facility in Balakot, around 80-KM from the Line of Control.
All major Pakistani TV channels, including the state-run PTV, Geo, Dawn, Express, SAMAA, ARY broadcast throughout the day that Indian jets violated the Line of Control in early hours of Tuesday, but did not talk much about India's claim of having destroyed JeM camps in the Balakot valley.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed terror camps at multiple locations across the Line of Control (LoC) on the Pakistani side in a pre-dawn strike, 12 days after the Pakistan-based terror group JeM carried out the Pulwama attack in Kashmir.
There was no other news in the Pakistani media since 11 am on Tuesday except the "Indian aggression". Interestingly, the Pakistani media picked up the official line that the Indian planes entered the Pakistani territory by 3 to 4-km and no damage was done.
All the channels gave live coverage to the National Assembly session where leaders of the main opposition parties PMLN and PPP talked of unity in the face of "Indian aggression".
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Khursheed Shah and former foreign minister Khwaja Asif said that the Indian planes entered 30-km inside Pakistan, putting a question mark on the official claim of the Pakistani government that the aircraft entered only 3 to 4-km. The media censored this statement of 30-km.
Talking to C24 News, senior journalist Iftikhar Ahmed questioned if the Indian planes only violated Pakistan's air space by 3-km, then why the Imran Khan government took more than 12 hours to clarify on it.
After his comment, the news channel took him off the air.
Another senior journalist Anjum Rashid said Pakistani media should not create an environment of "war hysteria" as it would serve no good.
"We should take up this matter with international community to put pressure on India," he said.
"Why did not we shoot down the intruding Indian fighter jets?" questioned senior journalist Ansar Abbasi.
"Indian Air Force attack is intelligently planned. They don't hit actual targets but they derive political advantage at home. It establishes an incursion below threshold putting Pakistan in an awkward situation as it has no cause to respond," said GNN TV anchor Moeed Pirzada.
"It was tragic that Foriegn Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi convened an emergency metting at the Foreign Office six hours after Indian aircraft came into our territory. Even a tortise can move faster," said anchor Syed Talat Hussain.
Known Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir put a question mark on the Indian claim of having destroying the terror camps of JeM.
Most media anchors, journallists and security experts also followed this line.
Some TV channels also ran the footage of the locals of Balakote, claiming that no unsual activity took place in their area.

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First Published: Feb 26 2019 | 8:40 PM IST

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