Masood Azhar is in Pakistan, admits foreign minister Qureshi

Masood Azhar is in Pakistan, admits foreign minister Qureshi

Masood Azhar is in Pakistan, admits foreign minister Qureshi

Pakistani military spokesperson Major-General Asif Ghafoor had on Wednesday asserted that two Indian jets were shot down and two Indian pilots were captured.

Both Indian and Pakistani officials reported small-arms fire and shelling along the Kashmir region into Thursday.

Pakistan on Wednesday claimed that it shot down two Indian fighter jets and arrested two Indian pilots, a day after India claimed its jets entered Pakistani airspace and bombed a camp of the Jaish-e-Muhammad militant group. India and Pakistan have fought three wars in the last 70 years, two of which, in 1947 and 1965, were over Kashmir.

India's Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor told reporters during a joint military briefing in New Delhi that the "next step [on de-escalation] will be taken only when the pilot is handed over".

Qureshi also added that the release of captured IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is a "peace gesture" and must be seen as Pakistan's "willingness to de-escalate".

Following multiple videos released by Pakistan including one that showed the pilot being beaten up by a mob in Pakistan, India on Wednesday had issued a strongly worded demarche to Pakistan condemning the "vulgar display" of the injured pilot and had demanded his immediate and safe return. It called upon the global community, including the United Nations Security Council, to condemn in unambiguous terms the Indian government's highly irresponsible action.

The Wagah crossing gate is famed for hosting an elaborate daily ceremony by Indian and Pakistani soldiers at sundown.

However, defense analysts said that India should continue to maintain pressure on Pakistan to uproot terrorism from its soil.

What have India and Pakistan said?

The parliament lauded the timely and effective action taken by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) which repulsed the Indian attack without loss of life and property.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a televised address that the two sides could not afford a miscalculation "given the weapons we have". We have been close allies and today we have a shared objective to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Bhattacharyya stressed that India carried out the operation very carefully and only used precision-guided munitions to avoid civilian casualties and Pakistani military installations.

India long has accused Pakistan of cultivating such militant groups to attack it. Pakistan has said it was not involved in that attack and was ready to help New Delhi in the investigation.

He also said that BJP leaders should ask people to vote for them in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections by promising that if given the mandate, the Centre will "teach a lesson" to Pakistan.

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