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Pak diplomat makes stunning disclosure over Balakot strike

Pak diplomat makes stunning disclosure over Balakot strike

The news coming out of Pakistan has deeply embarrassed the administration of Prime Minister Imran Khan and also the Pakistan military. In a stunning revelation, former Pakistani diplomat Agha Hilaly admitted on a news television show that 300 terrorists had died in the Balakot airstrike on February 26, 2019.

"India crossed the international border and did an act of war in which at least 300 were reported dead. Our target was different from theirs. We targeted their high command. That was our legitimate target because they are men of the military. We subconsciously accepted that a surgical strike – a limited action – did not result in any casualty. Now we have subconsciously told them that, whatever they will do, we'll do only that much and won't escalate," said Agha Hilaly.

Hilaly was speaking during a debate on a Pakistani Urdu channel. This flies in the face against the zero casualties claim made by the Pakistani government.

The air strike was in response to the brutal bombing against CRPF troopers in Pulwama which killed 40 troopers. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) owned up to the deadly strike and in bold retaliation, Indian Air Force (IAF) jets attacked terror launch pads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, reportedly killing nearly 300 terrorists. India claimed the strikes were directed against militant group JeM, which was training terrorists to infiltrate them into India. Claiming the strikes successful, the Indian government and the IAF had said that a "large number" of terrorists had been killed in the operation.

However, Pakistan dismissed Indian claims and said that the Indian air strike hit an uninhabited wooded hilltop area near Balakot. Weeks after the incident, Pakistan also took foreign journalists and foreign attaches to the spot in a highly regulated press tour to confirm that the Indian air strike did not cause any damage. Nearly two years after the Balakot airstrike, both sides have maintained their stands – India claiming that the airstrikes killed JeM terrorists while Pakistan has steadfastly repeated that no harm was done by the IAF.