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Updated February 29th, 2024 at 10:57 IST

Pakistan Air Force Court-Martials 13, Including One Who Ordered Failed 'Swift Retort': Reports

Pakistan's failed retaliation attempt post-Balakot Airstrike ended with it losing an F16 against the IAF’s vintage but upgraded MIG 21.

Reported by: Digital Desk
PAF operated US F-16 fighter
PAF operated US F-16 fighter | Image:X/ PAF
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Islamabad: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) have court-martialed 13 of its officers  following reports of corruption within the institution. The allegations surfaced after Pakistani journalist Wajahat S Khan exposed the rampant corruption in Pakistan’s Air wing.

Among the officers implicated in the scandal are high-ranking officials, including Air Marshal Ahsan Rafiq and Air Marshal Tariq Zia, media reports said. The investigation also resulted in the ousting of an officer partly responsible for initiating the failed ‘Operation Swift Retort’ against India after the Balakot airstrike, Retired Air Marshal Javed Saeed.

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Failed 'Swift Retort' and Following Developments

Operation Swift Retort saw a failed attempt by Pakistan to retaliate the Balakot Airstrike. The event subsequently led to an aerial confrontation with the Indian Air Force. Pakistan claimed to have shot down two Indian jets, while Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman downed a Pakistani F-16 with his Mig-21 Bison, as confirmed by Indian authorities via substantiated data including Radar Imagery of the said confrontation   .

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Former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. | Image: IAF

The tension following the failure also made Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan seek dialogue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to avoid escalation. Recent reports suggested that India had deployed nine missiles towards Pakistan during this period which made it coerced to leave Wg Cdr Abhinandan immediately.

Rampant Corruption in Pakistan Air Force Surges

The court-martial proceedings revealed deeper issues within the PAF, with allegations of corruption implicating top officials, including Chief Zaheer Babar Sidhu. Some Pakistan defence experts claim that the officers facing charges are being unfairly targeted and subjected to mistreatment. However, this is the same PAF that turned a supposed air base from its tax paying ‘awam’s’  money into a shopping Mall.

Furthermore, suspicions have arisen regarding the motives behind the arrests, with suggestions that the Air Force Chief is eliminating potential rivals to prolong his tenure. Allegations of irregularities in weapon procurement by PAF have only been noted by experts, reports said.

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Published February 25th, 2024 at 01:07 IST

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