New Delhi: Hours after 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) early on Tuesday morning and destroyed terror camps of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot, DG (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor told the press in Islamabad that they would definitely respond and surprise India.
“Wait for the surprise. The response will come. It is your turn now. Get ready to be surprised. The response will come differently,” said Ghafoor.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), is the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces.
Ghafoor further highlighted that the response would come at a time and point of Pakistan’s choosing, which would be decided by the military and civil leadership.
“As a matter of fact it has already been decided,” he said.
The major general also said his military would retain the escalation ladder.
Ghafoor also confirmed that Indian jets crossed the LoC and ventured into Pakistan. The DG ISPR said the IAF tried to get inside Pakistan through three separate routes and was engaged by the Pakistani forces on all three.
Ghafoor claimed an Indian formation was detected moving towards the Lahore-Sialkot sector border which were engaged.
“Another formation was spotted approaching the Bahawalpur border, they were also engaged. Then a much bigger formation was spotted flying from Kiran valley towards Muzaffarabad sector,” he added.
Confirming India’s claim of crossing the LoC, he said, “They came 4-5 nautical miles inside the LoC. On retreat they dropped their payloads and exited, the payloads fell on Jaba due to the angle of exit.”
Regarding Pakistan’s future course of action, Ghafoor said, “On Wednesday, there is a joint session of Parliament after which we have called for the meeting of the National Command Authority. I hope you know what that constitutes of and what that means.”
The major general said India had chosen a path of war. “You wanted our attention, you have it,” he added.
Commenting on the reason why India struck, he said, “India’s intention was to target civilian areas to prove that they have dismantled terror organisations.”
Responding to questions on why Pakistan did not take immediate action, he said, “We did not shoot down their aircraft because we wanted to expose India. They had come here for a dry run. Otherwise, if they had to target places they could have easily done so without crossing the LoC and firing missiles.”
Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, while addressing the press, said a large number of JeM terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot.
The camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar. The camp was located on a hilltop, deep in a forest, and far away from any civilian presence, Indian officials have claimed.
Ghafoor, in his conference, also mentioned usage of a two-year-old video as proof that India is lying.