The attack by the Indian Air Force on the Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp at Balakot in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is in accordance with every country’s right to self-defence. The attack was both a revenge for the Pulwama terror attack, which killed 40 CRPF jawans, and a pre-emption of further terror attack which Jaish-e-Mohammed was planning. Twelve Mirage 2000 fighter jets dropped 1,000 kg bombs on the terror camp at Balakot in which over 300 terrorists were said to have been killed. The Balakot terror haven was supposed to be the biggest of Jaish-e-Muhammad and headed by Maulana Yusuf Azhar, who was one of the terrorists involved in the 1999 hijack of Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar that got Masood Azhar released. The strikes by IAF planes resulted in elimination of not only terrorists but also trainers and senior commanders. The head of the terror camp was reported to have been eliminated in the air raids that lasted a mere 90 seconds. The deadly blows would surely cripple JeM, which has been operating in PoK. India has clear avoided hitting at Pakistani military or civilian targets. It has just carried out a surgical strike against the terror camp on a hill on the outskirts of the Balakot town.
Since the Pulwama terror attack took place, India’s Intelligence forces had been warning of more attacks by JeM terrorists; hence the attack by IAF. The pre-dawn attack was the first by the IAF since the 1971 war. The attack was planned after the forces gathered credible intelligence information that JeM was planning to carry out more terror strikes across India, fidayeen jihadis (suicide bombers) were being trained for this purpose. In order to prevent the JeM terrorists from carrying out their planned attacks India had to take preemptive action. The successful IAF strikes have been hailed by all sections of people across the country who had been asking for action to avenge the killing of CRPF men. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has hailed IAF action on the Balakot terror camp. All opposition parties have supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and lauded IAF for their action. The country stands behind the Modi government in protecting the troops and the territorial integrity of India.
We are sure the Indian government and armed forces have made their calculations about the likely reaction of Pakistan to the IAF attack at Balakot. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi described the strikes as “grave aggression” by India on Pakistan; following the strikes Pakistan has got the “right to retaliation and self defence,” he said. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan asked his country’s armed forces and people to “remain prepared for all eventualities.” Imran Khan is going to try his best to gather all the parties for a joint approach to the “act of aggression” by India. As was expected the Pakistani government chose to deny that the places attacked by IAF planes were terror hideouts or training camps and went on to claim the Indian jets returned after dropping bombs in open spaces in a hurry. In 2016 too, Pakistan had denied that the surgical strike carried out by Indian commandos following the massacre of jawans in Uri took place.
The Pakistan government has “cautioned” India that attacks by IAF pose a “grave risk” to regional peace and stability. However, the Pakistan government has not explained why it has not been acting against the terror groups inside its territory. Shah Qureshi went on to claim that Pakistan was a “peace-loving country” and has registered successes in the war on terrorism. This sounds contradictory. The Pakistan government and army have been giving patronage to terror groups of all kinds, especially those operating to cause bloodshed in India and Afghanistan. Pakistan should not indulge in any military adventure to “avenge” India’s attack at Balakot. It should concentrate on getting out of its deceitful posture of not patronizing terror groups and start eliminating them. In any case former Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf has warned his government that it has more to lose than to gain from any aggressive action against India. Though Pakistani Prime Minister has asked his defence forces to be “prepared” it remains to be seen whether he would retaliate against India. If Pakistan does retaliate by hitting at India’s military targets it could provoke a series of attacks and counterattacks between the two countries. That would be neither in the interest of India nor Pakistan. The real issue is, Pakistan must stop harbouring terror groups and try to resolve disputes in a peaceful and non-aggressive manner.