Pak Army arranges visit of Intl’ journalists and diplomats to Balakot

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RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army on Wednesday took international journalists and diplomats to the site near Balakot where Indian planes dropped “payload” after violating Pakistani airspace on February 26.

The group, who mostly comprised international journalists based in India and ambassadors and defence attachés of various countries, were also given access to seminary near Jabba which the India had been claiming of destroying, according to a press release issued by the ISPR.

The visitors, who witnessed the ground realities, were also briefed by DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor about the details of the event so they could better gauge the fallacy of the repeated Indian claims about the incident.

India had claimed of flattening a seminary and exterminating 300-400 militants of Jesh-e-Muhammad (JeM), the banned outfit allegedly involved in Pulwama attack.

Pakistan had immediately denied the claims and said that Intruding Indian planes, fearing being taken down by Pakistan Air Force, had fled after dropping bombs in empty space.

The visitors were shown craters created in the hilly forest area by the Indian bombs during the so-called air strike and made to see for themselves that there was not even a chance of any loss of human life, let alone killing of hundreds of people.

The group also visited the nearby madrassa, which stood intact and without any damage, as against the Indian claim of being destroyed.

The visitors also freely interacted with students and teachers at madrassa, which exposed the Indian claims of it being a terrorist sanctuary.

The DG ISPR said that India instead of pursuing false claims should accept the reality, stay in a responsible state for peace in the region and look inward to know why the situation had got out of New Delhi’s hand in the Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

Later, the group also visited APS Swat, a state of the art education facility with computer and science labs, auditorium and sports stadium.

The school was established by Pakistan Army as a gift for resilient people of Swat in recognition of their contributions and sacrifices in defeating terrorism, as terrorists had specially targeted educational institutions during the unrest.

Later the group also visited Sabaoon (morning light) de-radicalization Centre Malakand – a rehabilitation facility for psychologically treating indoctrinated juveniles and help them return to normal life and become useful citizens of society. Interestingly, the US-based Foreign Policy magazine has also rejected the Indian claim of shooting down a Pakistani F-16.