Reverting to pre-poll tactics, Congress' Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday, has yet again questioned the effectiveness of Indian Army's airstrike on Pakistan's Balakot. Tharoor repeated the same fake news which was reported by some international claiming the Army hit a few trees in Pakistan and that no terrorists were killed in the airstrike on February 26. He again questioned as to where the evidence of the strike was. When asked as to why he was questioning the same, when Pakistan PM Imran Khan had admitted the strike, he denied any knowledge of it.
"They (international media) are saying that at Balakot no terrorists were killed. In the pictures published by international media, it was seen that a few trees were hit. Evidence is not available with us or them, neither the government has it. If the government claims that it was an effective strike which killed many terrorists, they could have shown some evidence supporting the claim. I am hearing for the first time that Imran Khan has admitted that there was massive casualty faced," he said.
Previously on August 14, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had finally conceded that India carried out the Balakot airstrike on Pakistani soil. Further, he went on to make the confession in the context of expressing his fears that India has planned an even bigger operation, this time in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. He added that the intelligence agencies had 'full knowledge' of this 'attack'. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group had undertaken a suicide bombing in which 40 CRPF Jawans were martyred.
Mere days after the Baklakot airstrike, Opposition leaders had been questioning the Centre for proofs of the IAF airstrike which blasted the largest terror camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad. Congress Leaders like Navjot Singh Sidhu, Shashi Tharoor, Sam Pitroda to name a few, had asked for the proof. Meanwhile, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti also made a hue and cry over the “ambiguity” of the airstrikes. This had been in the wake of PM Modi's request to not question the credibility of the airstrikes conducted by Indian Air Force in Pakistan.
Subsequently, proof of the airstrike was accessed by Republic TV. The Before and After satellite images show six missile impacts which destroyed multiple locations of the JeM terror camps in Balakot. The questioning and doubts from the Opposition came in despite the Indian Air Force giving clear statements about the airstrike. Air Vice-Marshal RGK Kapoor on March 4 had asserted that there was fairly credible evidence with the forces which proves that there was damage to the camps. He added that weapons had hit the intended target and that they caused the damage that was intended.
On February 26, a squadron of the IAF had crossed over to Pakistan and destroyed the largest JeM terrorist training camp in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. This was done to avenge the Pulwama terror attack which had been perpetrated by the Pakistan-based terror group and for which it took responsibility. In the aftermath, Pakistan had first denied that any such airstrike had taken place, and then claimed that the IAF's bombs had missed their mark and hit a nearby forest, destroying trees and nothing more. However, visuals accessed by Republic TV later called out Pakistan's bluff, showing that the SPICE bombs used had decimated the terror complex, with sources pegging that there had been up to 300 terrorists at the facility at the time.