To debunk India’s claim, Pak takes media on guided tour
The media visit came after army chief Dalbir Singh on Saturday congratulated commandos involved in what New Delhi has described as “surgical strikes” to demolish terrorist launch pads. The operation followed an attack on an Indian army base by Pakistan-backed militants in Uri last month that killed 19 soldiers.
According to an AFP report, posted on the PTI website, the team was taken to Mandhole village close to the LoC to counter the “impression created by India.” The report said that the Pakistani military officials pointed to an Indian army post high on a forested ridge along the Line of Control dividing Kashmir, insisting any incursions were impossible, after skirmishes ignited tension between the two countries.
The operation by the Indian forces so far deep inside the territory under its control would be a stinging blow to Pakistan establishment, particularly after the 2011 US raid that killed Osama bin Laden which took place on its territory without its consent.
Pakistan has so far flatly denied the Indian claim, saying two of its soldiers were killed but only in a cross-border fire of the kind that commonly violates a 2003 ceasefire on the LoC. The report said the helicopter tour took journalists to sectors just two kilometres from the dividing line, and near the locations, India said it targeted in assaults on four militant camps.
On hand were senior local commanders as well as army spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa - an omnipresent media personality who has taken centre stage on Pakistani television since the tensions erupted, the report said and added that in villages like Mandhole, daily life was going on largely as normal despite the tensions, with shops and businesses open and children in pressed white uniforms walking to school.
The Pak military commanders, told reporters, that Pakistan has solid fortifications, layers of defence and that the LoC cannot be violated. “If they’ve caused that damage to us, we don’t know any has been caused to us! You can go and meet the civilian population. Our side is open: to the UN mission, to the media, to the general public,” the commanders are reported to have told the reporters.
The report said that it was not possible to verify the general’s claims, though villagers who spoke with a second AFP reporter in the area independent of the military-guided trip were also incredulous.