Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday hit out at BJP over its “false claims” of downing a Pakistani F-16 jet and accused it of “whipping up war hysteria” in an attempt to be re-elected during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Khan’s reaction came after New Delhi rubbished claims by a US media report that Pakistan did not lose any F-16 jet in the aerial combat on February 27.
Taking to Twitter, Khan said, “The truth always prevails and is always the best policy. BJP’s attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F 16 have backfired with US Defence officials also confirming that no F16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet.”
The truth always prevails and is always the best policy. BJP’s attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F 16 has backfired with US Defence officials also confirming that no F16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 6, 2019
The Foreign Policy magazine, which quoted two senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation, reported that American personnel counted the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16s and found none of the planes missing in its inventory. Following the report, the Indian Air Force on Friday had reiterated that it shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet during the air action in Nowshera sector near the Line of Control.
IAF, sources had said, based its claim on circumstantial evidence. This is because camera and radar images, which prove that the F-16 was shot down, were lost with the Mig-21 Bison aircraft — piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan — which crashed on the Pak side of the LoC, officials said.
Even Pakistan PM Imran Khan had repeated the claim that evening before DG ISPR altered his statement. IAF sources said that various eyewitness accounts from Pakistan, posted in social media platforms, also show that two parachutes were seen coming down and two pilots captured on the Pakistani side of LoC.