Pak Mobilises Additional Troops, Weaponry Along LoC: Report

Amid heightened Indo-Pak tension, sources in the security establishment on Wednesday said that Pakistan has mobilised additional troops and military equipment from its frontier with Afghanistan to forward positions in several sensitive sectors along the LoC in Kashmir.

  • Pakistan’s Interior Ministry on Tuesday, 5 March, put Hafiz Saeed’s JuD and FIF under the list of proscribed organisations
  • JeM Chief Masood Azhar’s brother Mufti Abdul Rauf was among 44 members of banned outfits detained in Pakistan
  • Countering Pakistan media reports, the IAF also refuted claims that it lost a Sukhoi aircraft in the aerial engagement

IAF Jet ‘Shoots Down’ Pakistani Drone Along Border in Bikaner

Amid continuing tensions between India and Pakistan, a Pakistani drone was shot down by a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet around 11:30 am on Monday, 4 March, close to the Bikaner Nal sector area of the International Border, reported ANI.

The drone was detected by Indian Air Defence radars. According to reports, the drone apparently violated Indian airspace near Bikaner at the International Border in Rajasthan and was shot down.

The Indian Air Force aircraft scrambled and fired air-to-air missiles, with the debris falling on the Pakistani side, it was further reported.

Read the full story here.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

Air Force Chief Says IAF Doesn't Count Casualties, Govt Will Disclose Balakot Toll

Sidestepping a raging debate on the number of casualties in the Balakot strike, IAF chief BS Dhanoa on Monday, 4 March said it is for the government to provide details on the terrorists killed and the Air Force only sees if a target has been hit or not.

The Air Force doesn't count human casualties, Dhanoa said as the figure of how many terrorists were killed in the 26 February attack on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province remained unclear. Government sources said up to 350 terrorists were killed, BJP president Amit Shah put the toll at 250, some media reports indicated the damage was minimal and opposition leaders clamoured for clarity. But there has been no official statement so far.

"We don't count human casualties. We count what targets we have hit or not hit," Dhanoa said in his first comments since the events of last week, when escalating India-Pakistan tensions led to aerial combat and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman being in captivity in Pakistan for almost three days.

"The target has been clearly amplified by the foreign secretary in his statement. And, of course, if we plan to hit the target, we hit the target. Otherwise, why would he (Pakistan) have responded," he said.

Also Read: IAF Doesn’t Calculate Casualties: Air Chief Marshal on Balakot

Pakistan Restores Samjhauta Express Services to Delhi

Pakistani authorities on Monday, 4 March restored the Samjhauta Express services between Lahore and Delhi, days after the train was suspended due to tense bilateral ties.

The train departs on every Monday and Thursday from Lahore.

The Samjhauta Express carrying some 150 passengers left Lahore railway station for India, Radio Pakistan reported.

Person Who Solves Kashmir Issue Will Be Worthy of Nobel Peace Prize: Imran Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, 4 March said the person who solves the Kashmir issue will be worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, days after a resolution was submitted in Parliament endorsing him for the prestigious award, citing his "efforts to de-escalate" tensions with India.

"I am not worthy of the Nobel Peace prize. The person worthy of this would be the one who solves the Kashmir dispute according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people and paves the way for peace and human development in the subcontinent," the premier tweeted.

On 2 March, a resolution was submitted in Pakistan's National Assembly Secretariat stating that Khan's decision of releasing Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has de-escalated the hostility between Pakistan and India.

According to the resolution, Khan "acted responsibly" in the current tension and "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize".

EC Team in J&K to Assess Feasibility of Holding Simultaneous Polls in State

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday, 4 March began a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the feasibility of holding the Lok Sabha and the state assembly polls simultaneously, reported PTI.

The ECI team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, began interactions with political parties soon after their arrival in the summer capital, officials said.

They said the team will meet with officials of the state government, including the deputy commissioners and the district police chiefs, to get a briefing on the security situation in the state.

The officials said the team will leave for Jammu later in the day and hold similar interactions there on Tuesday.

The state has been under the President's Rule since December 20, 2018. Prior to that, it was under the Governor's Rule for six months.

The PDP-BJP government in the state fell in June 2018 after the national party pulled out of the coalition.

Almost all political parties in Kashmir have advocated holding state assembly polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections but the ECI wants to assess the ground situation in the wake of the current state of heightened tension between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan Airspace Fully Reopened, Says Aviation Authority

Pakistan fully reopened its airspace on Monday, 4 March, authorities said, days after it closed its skies to all air travel, leaving thousands stranded worldwide as tensions with nuclear arch-rival India soared.

The decision to close the airspace came last Wednesday after a rare aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan ignited fears of an all-out conflict, with world powers rushing to urge restraint.

"All airports across Pakistan are operational and airspace reopened," a spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Authority told AFP on Monday, adding the process had been completed by 1:00 pm (0800 GMT).

The closure disrupted major routes between Europe and South Asia, with mounting frustration from passengers stranded at international airports.

It also delayed attempts to search for a British and an Italian climber who went missing on Nanga Parbat, Pakistan's "killer mountain" and the ninth highest peak in the world, as rescue teams were forced to wait for permission to send up a helicopter.

The climbers, Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard, were last heard from on 24 February. Fresh rescue attempts had to be called off over the weekend due to bad weather amid growing fears for their survival.

Pakistan began reopening its airspace "gradually" from Friday, with flights allowed in and out of major cities.

But the backlog means major delays are still expected and authorities have urged passengers to check for more information with their airlines

'Challenges Not Over Yet, Keep Your Guard Up': Pakistan Air Chief Tells PAF Officers

Pakistan Air Force chief on Monday, 4 March asked his officers to keep their "guard up" as the challenges facing the country "are not over yet".

Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan made the remarks during a visit to the forward operating bases (FOB), where he met combat and ground crew, air defence and engineering personnel, troops and civilian staff, a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) spokesperson was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.

"The challenges are not over yet, and we should keep our guards up and always be ready to respond to any aggression from the adversary," Khan said, referring to the Indian air strikes in Balakot, reported PTI.

PM Vows to Hunt Down Those Behind Terror Attacks in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, 4 March, said he believed in "barging into the houses of terrorists and killing them" as he vowed to find out those responsible for terror attacks in India "even if they hide in bowels of the earth".

He targeted the opposition for playing "vote-bank politics" and not taking steps to curb terrorism that has been hurting India for 40 years when they were in power.

"They (the opposition) say it is a game of election. Where was election when we carried out surgical strikes for the first time (in September 2016)? 'Ye hamara siddhant hai, ki ghar mein ghus kar maarenge' (it is our principle that we will kill them by barging into their house)," he asserted while addressing a gathering in Ahmedabad.

"I am not going to spare them even if they hide in the bowels of the earth (saatve pataal)," he said in his address, seen as a fresh warning to Pakistan.

Pakistan Maintaining State of Alert and Vigilance Along LoC: Major Gen Ghafoor

The Pakistan Army was maintaining the "state of alert and vigilance" along the Line of Control where it claimed that the Indian Army was resorting to "intermittent firing".

Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, updating the security situation, said that Indian troops initiated fire in Neza pir, Pandu, Khanjar Munawar, Battal and Baghsar sectors.

India said Pakistani troops violated ceasefire at two places by targeting forward posts and villages along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, breaking a two-day lull in cross-border skirmishes.

Indian officials said the firing and shelling by Pakistan in Akhnoor and Poonch sectors in Jammu region, however, caused no casualty.

Major Gen Ghafoor said that there was no casualties on Pakistan side during last 24 hours in the intermittent firing by India.

Qureshi Hints Pakistan May Not Oppose Listing of JeM Chief as Global Terrorist by UNSC

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday hinted that his country may not oppose a joint move by France, Britain and the US in the UN Security Council to list Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group's chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

"Time has come for Pakistan to decide in its own interests. We will do what's in Pakistan's interests," Qureshi told Geo TV in an interview.

Last week, the US, the UK and France moved a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo.

When asked whether Pakistan will request its close ally China to veto the resolution once again in the UNSC, Qureshi said his government will try to build a consensus among all parties and do what's in Pakistan's interests.

"We have some global commitments...We will have to take action which doesn't harm our global reputation," he said, without elaborating.

Read the full story here.

Pakistan Govt Issues Order to Seize Assets of All Banned Outfits Under UN Sanctions Regime

Pakistan on Monday promulgated a law to streamline the procedure for the implementation of the UN sanctions against individuals and organisations, amid mounting pressure from the global community to rein in the terror groups operating on its soil and curb their financing.

The Foreign Office said that the government issued the UN Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order, 2019 in accordance with the provisions of Pakistan's United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Act, 1948.

“The objective of the UNSC (Freezing and Seizure) Order 2019 is to streamline the procedure for implementation of Security Council Sanctions against designated individuals and entities,” it said in a statement.

Interpreting the order, Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said it means that the government has taken over the control of assets and properties of all banned outfits operating in the country, Dawn reported.

”(From now onwards), all kinds of assets and properties of all (banned) organisations will be in the government’s control,” he said.

He added that the government will now also seize the charity wings and ambulances of such banned outfits.

Northern Army Commander in Srinagar to Review Security Situation

Northern Army Commander Lt General Ranbir Singh arrived in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, 4 March, for a two-day visit to review the prevailing security situation in the region, as reported by ANI.

Northern Army Commander Lt General Ranbir Singh arrived in Srinagar on Monday, 4 March.

Encounter Underway in J&K's Tral

An encounter broke out on Tuesday, 5 March, between terrorists and security forces in Tral area of Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

"A brief exchange of fire took place between security forces and terrorists in Tral area," a police spokesman said.

He said the security forces have cordoned off the area and launched an operation to flush out the terrorists.

US Trying to Find Common Ground Between India and Pakistan: Pompeo

The United States is trying to find a common ground between India and Pakistan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, describing Kashmir as a long-standing battle between the two South Asian neighbours.

Pompeo cited the India-Pak dispute and the Israeli conflict as recent examples of America's negotiating diplomatic skills, about which he was asked at the "Future Farmers of America" event in Iowa on Monday, 4 March.

"How do you try to find a common ground, negotiate on behalf of the United States?," the top American diplomat was asked.

"So if you take a look at the most complex problems -- what's a good example? The debate to try to figure out how to get Middle East peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or in the news recently, the longstanding battle in Kashmir between the Indians and the Pakistanis. The work that we do as diplomats is to try and find places where there's common ground," Pompeo told farmers.

America's effort, he said, was to figure out the places where there was a real overlap. "And then it is to convince those -- sometimes we're in the middle of it, sometimes we're just trying to help bring resolution to a problem or to reduce violence in a particular conflict -- it's to make the case that nobody's going to get everything," he said.

Avoid "Opposition-Bashing", Convince World on Air Strikes: Chidambaram to Centre

As the debate over India's 26 February air strikes in Pakistan rages on in the country, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday, 4 March, asked the Centre to avoid "opposition-bashing" and convince the world on its stand.

Chidambaram said he was prepared to "believe the government" as a "proud citizen", but the Centre has to "make efforts for the world to also believe" its stand.

He recalled party chief Rahul Gandhi was the first to laud the Indian Air Force after the strikes.

Chidambaram faced sharp rebuke from Union Minister Piyush Goyal for his comments, with the senior BJP leader charging the Congress with believing in "Pakistan propaganda," but not the Indian armed forces.

"As a proud citizen, I am prepared to believe my government. But if we want the world to believe, the government must make the effort (to explain), not indulge in Opposition-bashing," Chidambaram said in a tweet.

Two Terrorists Killed in Encounter in Tral

Two terrorists have been killed in the ongoing encounter between security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tral on Tuesday, 5 March, reported ANI.

Violence Aided by State Seeks to Destabilise India, Says Naval Chief

Weeks after the Pulwama attack, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Tuesday, 5 March, warned that there are reports about terrorists being trained to carry out operations through the sea.

Addressing a gathering of global experts at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue here, Lanba said the Pulwama attack was perpetrated by extremists that were "aided by a State" that seeks to destabilise India.

"We also have reports of terrorists being trained to carry out operations in various modus operandi, including through the medium of the sea," he said.

The Navy chief said this part of the world had witnessed multiple forms of terrorism in recent years and few countries in the region had been spared.

The global nature that terrorism has acquired in the recent times has further enhanced the scope of this threat, Lanba said. India, however, faces a "far more serious" version of "state-sponsored" terrorism, he said.

"We recently saw the horrific scale of the extremist attack in Jammu and Kashmir about three weeks ago. This violence was perpetrated by extremists aided and abetted by a State that seeks to destabilise India," the Navy chief said without naming Pakistan.

"We have seen how quickly terror groups evolve across the globe. A particular brand of terror can well become a global problem in near future," Lanba warned.

The Indian security establishment is continuously working to address this menace, he said, noting that "it is imperative that the global community works in concert to contain and eliminate terrorism in all its forms".

Lanba also emphasised the importance of the Indo-Pacific Region. "There is a renewed focus of the world on the seas. This is principally due to the geoeconomic and geopolitical significance of the maritime domain."

Prakash Javadekar, VK Singh Hit Out at Digvijaya Singh

Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and VK Singh launched attacks on Congress leader Digvijaya Singh for terming Pulwama attack an "accident" on Twitter. Javadekar said, "What has happened to Congress? They always talk in opposition to the nation's feelings."

He said that Congress is refuting the information provided by the forces. "This doesn't happen in any democratic country where disbelief is shown towards the armed forces," he added.

VK Singh also hit out at the Congress leader, asking, "I would like to ask Digvijaya Singh Ji, was Rajiv Gandhi's assassination an accident or a terror incident?"

On being asked about the casualty figure in the IAF air strike, he said, "The figure is of the attack on Balakot (250 casualty). The attack was only at one place, nowhere else. The target was selected carefully, away from residential areas to avoid civilian casualty."

Why Modi Silent: Mayawati on Shah's 250-Terrorists-Killed Claim

BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday, 5 March, tried to put BJP president Amit Shah on the dock over his claim that 250 terrorists were killed in the Indian air strikes in Pakistan, asking him why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "silent" over it.

"BJP chief Amit Shah is arduously making claim that IAF strike had killed over 250 terrorists in Pakistan but why his guru PM Modi who is always keen to take credit for everything is silent over it? Terrorists killed is good news, but what is the secret behind deep silence of PM over it?," Mayawati posted on Twitter.

At an event in Ahmedabad on Sunday, 3 March, Shah had said the Indian Air Force (IAF) air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot last Tuesday "killed more than 250 terrorists".

Mayawati also hit out at the economic policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, saying that benefits of economic growth not reaching to most of the poor, labourer, farmers of 130-crore population of country was a "matter of serious concern".

"...what will be Modi Govt reply & jumlebazi (rhetoric) over slowdown in farm and manufacturing pushing GDP growth to a low of 6.6%...?" she added.

People Have Right to Know Casualties in IAF Air Strikes: Sena

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday, 5 March, said India's citizens have the right to know about the casualties in the air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp in Pakistan and that revealing such information would not lower the morale of armed forces.

Taking a dig at senior ally BJP, the Sena, in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' said discussions over the air strikes will linger on till the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and "burning issues" raised by the Opposition before the 14 February Pulwama attack have now been side-stepped.

"Citizens of the country have the right to know what and how much harm has been caused to the enemy by the defence forces. We do not think the morale of our forces is being lowered by asking for it," it said.

While the government has so far not given any official figure of the casualties in the air strikes, some opposition parties have been asking for a proof of it.

Referring to it, the Sena said, "Where did the 300-kg RDX used in Pulwama attack come from? How many terrorists were killed in our strikes on terror camps? Discussions over these will happen till the last days of polls because before the Pulwama attack, inflation, unemployment and Rafale jet deal were the burning issues for the Opposition."

Pak Violates Ceasefire in Nowshera

Pakistan violated ceasefire in Nowshera sector in Rajouri district at 11:30 am on Tuesday, 5 March, as reported by ANI.

Air Force to Equip Sukhoi-30s With Spice-2000 Bombs Used in Air Srike

Talking about the quick deployment of forces by the Air Force on the western frontier of Pakistan, top Indian Air Force sources told ANI that the force has been successful in doing so due to the exercise GaganShakti held last year where the service practiced to carry out high tempo operations on both the possible fronts.

“At the moment, the only aircraft which is capable of delivering the bombs on enemy targets is the Mirage 2000. But now the Air Force is putting them on the Su30s as well to further enhance their firepower,” government sources told ANI here.

India had acquired more than 200 of these bombs from Israel a few years back and the Su-30MKI has already carried out trials of launching the Spice-2000 on ground targets, they said.

"After a few more trials, the Su-30 fleet would be equipped with these bombs which rely on coordinates and satellite pictures of the target to home in and destroy the intended targets," the sources said.

Congress Lowering Morale of Security Forces: RS Prasad Hits Out

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday, 5 March, slammed the Congress party for “lowering the morale of the security forces.”

“There is a growing competition between senior leaders of the Congress party as to who is more vocal in lowering the morale of the security forces,” he said, in a press conference.

"“Has Digvijaya Singh reduced himself to such a low level that he will call the most heinous terrorist attack on 45 CRPF jawans as an accident? This is their thinking.”" - Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister

PM Modi Raises Slogans Calling for 'Victorious India'

While addressing a rally in Vastral in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Opposition, saying, “To remove Modi, they (Opposition) are busy in mahamilavat and Modi is busy protecting the rights of farm labourers. They are busy launching strikes on Modi and here Modi is busy launching strikes on terror.”

Stopped Indian Submarine From Entering Our Waters, Claims Pak Navy

The Pakistan Navy on Tuesday, 5 March, claimed it had thwarted an attempt by an Indian submarine to enter the country's territorial waters.

The report comes after tensions flared up between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district on 14 February.

Pakistan Navy also shared a footage with the media, which it said was "actual". The image showed that footage was made at 2035 hours on 4 March.

"The Pakistan Navy used its specialised skills to ward off the submarine, successfully keeping it from entering Pakistani waters," a spokesperson said in a statement.

The Indian submarine was not deliberately targeted by the Pakistan to give peace a chance, the spokesperson said.

"The Indian submarine was not targeted keeping in view Pakistan's policy of peace," the official said, adding that India must learn from this incident and "move towards peace".

"The Pakistan Navy is always ready to guard its territorial waters and is capable of responding to any kind of aggression with full force," the navy said.

Balakot Airstrike 'Not Military Action' as No Damage to Civilians: Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, 5 March, said the Balakot airstrike, where the Indian Air Force targeted and destroyed a JeM camp in Pakistan last week, was "not a military action" as there was no damage to civilians.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had not given any casualty figure in the airstrike and he had only given a statement, which was the government's "position", Sitharaman told reporters in Chennai.

Gokhale had last week said the non-military and pre-emptive strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in Balakot had killed "very large number" of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.

Sitharaman's remarks come amidst the Opposition seeking details of the death toll in the airstrike, even as the IAF, which carried out the attacks post the Pulwama suicide bombing, said on Monday the Centre would provide details on the casualty figures.

The defence minister also declined to link the airstrike with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Army Commander Reviews Security Situation in Siachen

General Officer Commanding of strategic Fire & Fury Corps Lt General YK Joshi visited the forward locations in Siachen glacier in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir to review the security situation and operational preparedness, a defence spokesman said Tuesday, 5 March.

"Lt Gen Joshi visited forward locations in the Siachen sector on 4 March 2019 (Monday). He reviewed the security situation and was briefed on the operational preparedness being maintained in the sector," the spokesman said.

Lt Gen Joshi interacted with the troops deployed on the highest battlefield in the world, in extreme weather and highly challenging terrain conditions for maintaining the sanctity of Indian borders, he said.

"Lt Gen Joshi appreciated and complimented the troops for their high morale and commitment even in these difficult circumstances and urged them to uphold the highest standards of professionalism of the Indian Army," the spokesman added.

Recent Interview by Pak Foreign Minister Confirm Their Govt is In Touch With JeM Chief: Sources

Sources cited by ANI said on Tuesday, 5 March, that the recent interviews by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirm that the country’s government is in touch with Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, with no denial that he is the chief of the terror group. This helps India’s case to put him in the UNSC 1267 sanctions list, they said.

"“India will not be deterred in its war against terrorism. (There is) no offer of mediation from any country. India has told the world that this is not an India-Pakistan issue, this is an issue of terrorism.”" - Sources cited by ANI

On reports of Masood Azhar being unwell, the sources said that India takes such reports with a pinch of salt. “Our effort is to bring Masood Azhar to book,” they added.

India Will Have 'All Options' Available in Case There is Another Terror Strike: Officials

India will have "all options" available in case there is another terror strike, official sources cited by PTI asserted on Tuesday, 5 March, while maintaining that the government will insist on concrete steps taken by Pakistan in dismantling terror infrastructure.

Sources also said that India has shared with the US the evidence of use of F-16 jet by Pakistan during retaliatory aerial combat and was confident that the US is investigating the matter. Since the Balakot strike, India is trying to build maximum pressure on Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, sources said.

Sources had said on Monday that the Indian Air Force has kept all its bases in Western sector on maximum alert after India carried out a strike on the JeM camp in Pakistan's Balakot on 26 February.

JeM Chief's Brother Among 44 Detained in Pakistan

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s brother Mufti Abdul Rauf was among the 44 members of banned outfits detained in Pakistan on Tuesday, 5 March.

The announcement about the arrests was made by Pakistan’s Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi at a press conference, where he reportedly said that the action is not an outcome of any pressure.

Hammad Azhar is another name that has been highlighted from those who have been detained.

Afridi said a dossier shared by India with Pakistan last week also contained names of Mufti Abdul Rauf and Hammad Azhar.

According to a circular, these 44 “under-observation members of proscribed organisations have been taken in preventive detention for investigation”.

Pakistan SC Bars Private Channels From Airing Indian Films, TV Shows

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday barred private channels from airing Indian films and television shows, amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmad, heard the case pertaining to the telecast of Indian material on Pakistani channels.

"The apex court has barred private channels from airing Indian material," state-run Radio Pakistan reported. The hearing of the case has been adjourned for an indefinite period.


Pak Govt Sacks Minister Fayyaz Chohan For ‘Anti-Hindu’ Remarks

Pakistan Punjab's Information Minister Fayyaz-ul Hassan Chohan of the ruling PTI has been sacked after facing severe criticism from members of his party for making derogatory remarks about Hindus.

The PTI government in Pakistan’s Punjab on Tuesday, 5 March, tweeted that it had “removed Fayyaz Chohan from the post of Punjab Information Minister following derogatory remarks about the Hindu community”.

“Bashing someone’s faith should not be a part of any narrative. Tolerance is the first and foremost pillar on which Pakistan was built,” the party had said.

NSA Ajit Doval Discusses Security Situation With American Counterpart

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval spoke to his American counterpart John Bolton on Tuesday, 5 March, regarding the security situation in the Indian subcontinent in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack and the IAF air strike across the LoC. Bolton reportedly supported India’s fight against terrorism.

India has also shown proof of Pakistan using F-16 jets to attack Indian planes and targets, with the US defence attachés being shown parts of an AIM-120 missile.

Two Weeks After Recall, Pak Envoy to Return to India

Pakistan on Tuesday, 5 March, said that the country’s high commissioner to India will be returning to New Delhi more than two weeks after he was recalled for consultations.

A statement by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said that a Pakistan delegation would visit India on 14 March to discuss the draft agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor. Meanwhile, the Indian delegation would visit Islamabad on 28 March, the statement added.

The ministry conveyed “Pakistan’s commitment to continued weekly contact at the Military Operations Directorates level.”

Pakistan's Claim of Shooting Down Su-30 Aircraft is False: IAF

Releasing a statement detailing what happened on 27 February, when India and Pakistan engaged in an aerial dogfight, the Indian Air Force said that Pakistan's claim of shooting down a Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft was false and “appears to be a cover up for loss of its own aircraft." The statement added that all the Su-30 aircraft engaged in combat had landed safely.

"“During combat, the use of F-16 by PAF (Pakistan Air Force) and multiple launches of AMRAAM were conclusively observed. Prompt and correct tactical action by Su-30 aircraft, in response to AMRAAM launch, defeated the missile. Part of the missile fell in the area east of Rajouri in J&K, injuring a civilian on the ground.”" - IAF statement

The Indian Air Force further said that PAF aircraft were “engaged effectively” in their attempt to attack the Indian ground targets. To counter this, the IAF deployed Mirage-200, Su-30 and MiG-21 Bison aircraft. “The PAF aircraft were forced to withdraw in a hurry, also evident from large missed distances of weapons dropped by them.”

JuD and FIF Banned by Pakistan Under Anti-Terrorism Act

Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawah and its subsidiary Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation have been banned under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry.

Number of Fatalities at JeM Training Camp Will be Known Some Day: Rajnath

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said the government does not have the number of Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists killed in the IAF strike in Pakistan's Balakot and attacked those questioning its veracity, insisting people who do that are indulging in politics over the valour of the armed forces.

He said the number of fatalities at the JeM terror training camp will be known some day.

Singh, however, claimed that the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) has informed the security establishment about the presence of around 300 "active" mobile phones at the training camp site before the IAF bombing.


Pak Violates Ceasefire in J&K's Rajouri

Pakistan violated ceasefire in Sunderbani sector, of Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. This is the third time Pakistan has violated ceasefire today.

Pakistan SC Bars Private Channels from Airing Indian Films, TV Shows

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday, 5 March, barred private channels from airing Indian films and television shows, amid escalating tensions between the two countries following the Pulwama terror attack.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmad took up the case in which an order of the Lahore High Court (LHC) allowing Indian channels in Pakistan was challenged.

The move came a week after Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Pakistan film exhibitors association will be boycotting the Indian films following Indian air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last month.

Hussain also said that he has instructed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to crack down on "made-in-India advertisements".

US 'Very Closely' Following Reports of F-16 Misuse by Pak: State Dept

The US is "very closely" following the reports which have claimed that Pakistan misused American-made F-16 fighter jets against India in the recent aerial confrontation between the air forces of the two countries, a top State Department official has said.

The Indian Air Force on Thursday displayed parts of an AMRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile as evidence to "conclusively" prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir after India's anti-terror operation in Balakot.

Pakistan has said that no F-16 fighter jets were used.

The US State Department has said that America is seeking more information from Pakistan on the potential misuse of American-made F-16 fighter jets by it against India in violation of the end-user agreement.

"We've seen those reports and we're following that issue very closely," US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters at his biweekly news conference on Tuesday.

US Reduces Visa Duration of Pak Citizens: Report

Visa duration for Pakistani citizens travelling to the United States has been reduced from five years to three months, ARY News reported, quoting the US Embassy spokesperson.

Pak F-16s Fired 4-5 AMRAAM's From a 40-50 Km Distance

Pakistani F-16's had fired four to five AIM-120 AMRAAM (American medium-range air-to-air missiles) from a 40-50 km distance distance at Indian aircraft's including the Sukhoi Su-30 and the MIG 21 Bison, ANI reported.

This comes as Indian troops are carrying extensive searches on the ground where the debris of the medium-range missile is supposed to have fallen.

"The F-16's fired four to five AMRAAM missiled from beyond a visual range distance of around 40-50 km at the Indian jets, including the Sukhoi Su-30 in the engagement on 27 February," sources told ANI.

Sources also told the news agency that once more parts of the AMRAAM are found, the Pakistanis will be further exposed.

Pak Intensifies Crackdown, Confiscates Seminaries, Assets of JuD, FIF

Pakistan on Wednesday, 6 March, intensified its crackdown against banned organisations and seized several seminaries and assets belonging to Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation.

The confiscation of properties comes after Pakistan formally placed the proscribed organisations in the list of banned organisations on Tuesday, 5 March.

According to Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) list, which was updated on Tuesday, JuD and FIF were among 70 organisations proscribed by the Ministry of Interior under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

At least two seminaries and property belonging to JuD and FIF were taken over by the government in a fresh crackdown launched by the law enforcement agencies under the National Action Plan (NAP) on Tuesday, Dawn reported.

In a subsequent operation, the seminaries of JuD in Chakwal — Madrassa Khalid Bin Waleed in the Talagang area and Madrassa Darus Salam on Chakwal's Railway Road — along with their staff were placed at the disposal of the Auqaf Department.

Following the Punjab government's directives, administrators were appointed at the seminaries to take over their control.

Three properties of JuD and FIF were spotted in Attock district during a fresh survey conducted by a divisional intelligence committee on 27 February.

The management and operational control of the properties were taken over by the district administration of Attock, the Dawn report added.

They were Madrassa and Masjid Musab Bin Umair in Peoples Colony, Attock. It was an under-construction structure spread over 13-kanal (1.6 acres) area and its monthly expenditures were Rs 60,000.

It was taken over by the chief executive officer of the Attock district education authority.

An ambulance of FIF with a monthly running expenditure of Rs 48,000 was taken over by the district emergency office in Attock.

Besides, Hasanabdal assistant commissioner confiscated a 17-marla (0.10 acre) plot of the organisation on Ahmed Din Khan Road and a car bearing a registration plate of Islamabad with monthly expenditure of Rs 18,000, the report said.

IAF Submits Dossier to Govt to Prove Airstrike Was successful: Report

The Indian Air Force has purportedly submitted a dossier to the government that includes proof that its 26 February air strike across the LoC in Balakot was successful, with 80 percent of bombs hitting the targets, India Today TV reported on Wednesday, 6 March, citing IAF sources.

The dossier apparently includes high-resolution satellite images and synthetic aperture radar imagery as proof.

The IAF jets used Israeli Spice 2000 precision bombs with "penetration warheads" in the strike, sources further told the channel, adding that these caused "internal" damage to the buildings.

IAF Attributes Downing of Pak F-16 to Abhinandan: Report

The IAF on Wednesday, 6 March, “officially” attributed the downing of Pakistan’s F-16 jet to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, reported India Today.

The R-73 missile from his MiG-21 was the only weapon fired by IAF’s 8 fighters, the report said.

First India-Pak Meeting on Kartarpur on 14 March

The first meeting between India and Pakistan to finalise modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor would be held at Attari-Wagah on 14 March.

“India has also proposed that a technical-level discussion on alignment of corridor be held on the same day on the sidelines of this meeting,” reported ANI.

Action by Defence Forces Against Terrorism, Not Civilians: Indian Army

The Indian Army on Wednesday, 6 March, categorically stated that the Pakistan Army has employed “heavy artillery" to target civilian areas in Krishna Ghati and Sunderbani sectors along the LoC in the last 24 hours.

The Army reiterated that all actions taken by the Indian defence forces are targeted towards counter terrorism and terrorist infrastructure, away from civilian areas.

Read the full story here.

Pak Mobilises Additional Troops, Weaponry Along LoC: Report

Amid heightened Indo-Pak tension, sources in the security establishment on Wednesday said that Pakistan has mobilised additional troops and military equipment from its frontier with Afghanistan to forward positions in several sensitive sectors along the LoC in Kashmir.

The Indian Army on Wednesday also issued a stern warning to Pakistan against targeting civilians along the LoC, saying any further provocation or misadventure by it will have "dire consequences".

Official sources said the warning came after Pakistan targeted forward posts in Nowshera sector with 155 mm artillery guns which was retaliated by the Indian Army with Bofors guns.

Sources said the military officials of the two armies spoke over the hotline on Tuesday during which India had asked Pakistani side not to target civilian population along the LoC.

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