The Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 fighter jets not only destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps located in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir, but also targeted area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, latest media report said. According to news agency ANI, “air strikes in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region were based on locations provided by on ground intelligence sources.”
In terms of geography, while Muzaffarabad and Chakothi are located in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, the fact is Balakot is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. If the targets of the airstrikes are confirmed, this means that India has hit locations deep into Pakisan and not PoK. Balakot is about 50 miles from the ceasefire border known as the “line of control” based on lines established after the first war the two countries fought over Kashmir shortly after independence in 1947.
Till official confirmation comes, the mystery looms large over which Balakot has been targeted in Pakistan. Because, there are two Balakotes in Pakistan, one is a town in Mansehra district of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and the other along LoC in PoK. Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah, while reacting to the attack, said: “If this is Balakote in KPK it’s a major incursion & a significant strike by IAF planes. However, if it’s Balakote in Poonch sector, along the LoC it’s a largely symbolic strike because at this time of the year forward launch pads & militant camps are empty & non-functional.”
The airstrikes are seen as a way by India avenging the Pulwama terror attack. On February 14, around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber rammed into a convoy while moving from Jammu to Srinagar in Lethpora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the attack.