The Pakistan Army on Monday criticised Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement referring to the India cricket team’s victory over Pakistan at the World Cup on Sunday as “another strike”. Pakistan said the two cannot be compared.
“Another strike on Pakistan by #TeamIndia and the result is same,” Shah had said on Twitter. Shah may have been referring to the February 26 air strike carried out on a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot, Pakistan, days after the terrorist group had killed 40 security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama. Pakistan had denied that the air strikes caused any damage or casualties.
Major General Asif Ghafoor, who is the director general of the Pakistan Army’s media wing, on Monday said a cricket match and air strikes cannot be compared. “Dear @AmitShah yes ur [your] team won a match,” he said on his personal Twitter account. “Well played. Two things with different denominators can’t be compared. So are strikes [and] match. If in doubt please see results of our Nowshera counter strikes [and] response to IAF violation on 27 Feb 19 downing two Indian jets. Stay Surprised.”
On Shah’s statement that “the result is the same”, Ghafoor claimed that the Indian air strikes had failed. “...two IAF jets shot down, a pilot arrested, Mi17 fratricide, four broad day light successful PAF Noushera counter air strikes, massive casualties along LOC and damage to Indian posts [and] artillery gun positions...~ Doctor please...”
The Balakot strike was followed by heightened tensions between the two countries, including aerial skirmishes between India and Pakistan.
On February 27, the Pakistani military claimed it had shot down two Indian Air Force jets – one had crashed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the other fell in Jammu and Kashmir. India maintained that Pakistan shot down only one MiG-21 aircraft while the Indian Air Force shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet during the dogfight in Nowshera, Jammu and Kashmir.
During the same skirmish, Pakistan had captured Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was released and returned home on March 1.