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Sidhu takes swipe at govt over Balakot strikes: Were you uprooting trees or terrorists?

"When the international media speak against Pakistan, you are "elated". But when they ask questions (about the airstrike), they are asking because they support Pak?" Sibal asked.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 4, 2019 3:19:53 pm
Dialogue, diplomatic pressure will help in long-term solution: Sidhu on India-Pak tensions Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu asked the Centre to come clear if indeed 300 terrorists were killed. (File)

Congress leaders Navjot Singh Sidhu and Kapil Sibal on Monday joined the growing chorus of Opposition leaders expressing skepticism over the impact of the February 26 IAF airstrikes in Pakistan’s Balakot.

Sibal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should respond to international reports claiming there were hardly any casualties in the IAF’s Balakot airstrike, while Punjab minister Sidhu asked the Centre to come clear if indeed 300 terrorists were killed.

“PM must speak on reports by international media that say hardly anyone died there (in airstrike in Balakot),” news agency ANI quoted Sibal as saying. Sibal said he wanted to ask Modi that is the international media in support of Pakistan. “When the international media speak against Pakistan, you are “elated”. But when they ask questions (about the airstrike), they are asking because they support Pak?” he asked.

Sibal’s statement comes a day after PM Modi accused the Opposition of demoralising the armed forces by “raising doubts” and “asking for proof” of the Balakot airstrike. Saying this was a “new India” with a new policy, Modi said, “Yeh India chun chun ke sab hisab leta hai (This India settles all scores).”

On Sunday, BJP president Amit Shah said “more than 250 terrorists” were killed in the airstrike in Balakot on February 26.

Congress, in its defence, said PM Modi himself was raising questions on the February 26 action. “The Opposition is not raising questions on the airstrike. The Prime Minister himself is doing that. The Prime Minister has said that if India had Rafale jets, the results would have been different. What does that statement mean?,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said at a press conference.

After a few international media reports claimed that hardly anybody was killed in the airstrike by IAF in Balakot, last Tuesday, opposition leaders started raising questions over the operation seeking proof. Congress’s Digvijaya Singh too said the government should provide evidence of the airstrikes in Balakot, in Pakistan, just the way the United States had done after killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s Abbottabad in 2011.

Sidhu also joined the chorus with a growing number of Opposition leaders demanding evidence of the airstrike and asked the government to stop politicising the armed forces.

“300 terrorist dead, Yes or No? What was the purpose then? Were you uprooting terrorist or trees? Was it an election gimmick? Deceit possesses our land in guise of fighting a foreign enemy. Stop politicising the Army, it is as sacred as the State,” he said.

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