In a major damage-control exercise, the Pakistani army yesterday flew international and local media to the Line of Control (LoC) to ‘prove’ India didn’t conduct any surgical strikes across it in Pakistan, local and other international media reported today.
In fact, French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) called the ferrying of journalists by air “a rare step” by Pakistan.
“The army took the rare step of flying international media to the de facto border to make its case in a battle of competing narratives,” AFP wrote.
All of this to desperately prove to the world that no “signature of any surgical strike” could be found and that India’s claims were “white lies”, as Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, a spokesman for the Pakistani army, told the journalists, according to Dawn and The News International.
The group of 40 journalists flown by the Army to a forward command post on the LoC represented about 20 media organisations.
Pakistan in denial
Pakistan has denied the surgical strikes took place and merely said that two of its soldiers were killed in ”routine” cross-border fire on the intervening night of September 28-29 when India successfully struck terrorist camps taking out at least 38 terrorists across the LoC in Pakistan.
“No such incident has taken place nor any such will be allowed to happen in future and if the adversary attempted so, it will be responded to with an ever strongest force,” Bajwa said.
Gen Bajwa asked several rhetorical questions of the Indian military about its surgical strikes and said the Indian Army’s director general of military operations should be “sure-footed” while making statements on sensitive matters.
“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,” AFP quoted him as saying.
AFP, on its part, said 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”, AFP wrote.