Pak PM Imran Khan did a U-turn on India’s Balakot air-strike after Islamabad’s denial. In 2019, India conducted a pre-emptive airstrike which reportedly was directed towards a terrorist training camp. However, Pakistan had claimed that it had already intercepted the Indian fleet and had caused them to retreat and release a bomb in an open area. However, Pakistan PM Imran Khan on record maintained that the air-strike was conducted in a retaliation to the Pulwama attack.
Former Pakistan cricket team skipper and legendary all-rounder was more than a proficient cricketer. However, the same proficiency wasn’t maintained when he entered the world of politics. After fighting in elections with the campaign slogan of ‘Naya Pakistan’, Pakistan PM has seen the country’s economy at its worst and has made several U-turns where he went on record saying something, and acting in a wholly different way.
Recently, the 69-year-old political leader had an interview where he spoke about the Balakot air-strike on record.
The Facts of the Matter
A few weeks after he was given a precise and fiery response from the Indian delegation at the UNGA, Pakistan Prime Minister again went on the record to blame India for his country’s transgressions. Speaking at an interview, the Pak PM acknowledged the Balakot air-strike, something Islamabad had categorically denied.
“Had Little Skirmish, They Bombed Us”: PM Khan on Pulwama Attack
Further, the Pakistan Prime Minister also spoke about the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and how his country ‘returned’ the IAF officer to raise an olive branch. Claiming that the Pulwama attack was a result of a “little skirmish” and that Indian government “blamed” Pakistan, PM Imran Khan added that India “bombed” Pakistan.
“We had a little skirmish in Kashmir- a suicide bomb went off in Kashmir- and their soldiers were killed and they kept blaming us. We kept saying that give us any evidence, we will hold those responsible, have them punished, and probably even hand over them to India. Rather than giving us the evidence, they (India) bombed us,” said PM Khan.
What had Really Happened During Balakot Air-Strike?
On February 14, 2019, an Indian convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber which resulted in the deaths of 40 CRPF officials. In retaliation, India triggered an airstrike on February 26 in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. Indian government asserted that the attack led to the end of a large number of militants who were preparing for another suicide attack.
Released Wing Comm Abhinandan Varthaman to “Cool Down Things”
Meanwhile, in the interview, PM Imran Khan also mentioned the retaliation of the Balakot Airstrike. “Pakistan also retaliated, and shot down an Indian plane. We immediately returned the pilot to cool down things.”
PM Khan was referring to the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was held captive by Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down by Pakistan. Pakistan authorities soon released videos of Abhinandan being rescued by villagers and receiving first aid. He was later released as a gesture of peace.
“It Can Go Anywhere”: PM Khan on Nuclear Equipped Countries’ Disputes
However, the release of the videos was a gross violation of the Geneva Convention and was later deleted by Pakistan authorities.
Speaking about the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan, PM Khan said, “Once two nuclear-armed countries get into situation like we did, it can go anywhere. I actually addressed the United Nations too and told them that you came into being to solve this kind of a situation.”