Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said Pakistan holds the right to self-defence and a befitting response. The Indian Air Force carried out pre-dawn airstrikes on Tuesday and destroyed major launch pads of terrorists in Pakistan’s Balakot. “We kept on telling the world that this could happen… they [India] carried out aggression against Pakistan today. India violated the LoC [today]. Pakistan holds the right to self-defence and a befitting response,” Qureshi told media, after chairing an emergency consultative meeting at the Foreign Office. The meeting at the Foreign Office was attended by former foreign secretaries and senior diplomats, and held consultations over the prevailing situation.
More than 10 bombs were dropped by the multi-role fighter jet Mirage 2000 at around 3:30 am. "Clouds of danger are lingering over Pakistan and we can see aggression," Shah Mehmood Qureshi said. "An aggressive segment is bent on risking regional peace for its political gains," he added. "Indian leadership has become flustered in trying to achieve its political gains," Geo News quoted Qureshi as saying.
Qureshi further said, "We are a responsible nation and have to move forward responsibly, wisely and patiently."
Stating that Prime Minister Imran Khan is up to date with "minute-by-minute details", the foreign minister said, "I will hold a meeting with the prime minister and brief him regarding the consultative meeting to be held at the Foreign Office."
In a brief statement issued to media, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale spoke about ‘intelligence operation.’ “In an intelligence lead operation in the early hours today, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commander and Jihadis were eliminated,” Gokhale said. “Credible information was received that JeM was attempting other attacks in the country. A pre-emptive strike became important. India struck the biggest camp of JeM in Balakot,” Gokhale added.
The aerial attack comes a day after Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a high-level meeting with all three service chiefs.
Defence experts say that Mirages would have used 500 kg laser-guided bombs. The Mirage 2000s may have used Israeli lightening laser designator pods to drop their precision bombs. Though Pakistan has tweeted the photos of large craters, the actual impact of the airstrike will be revealed by the satellite images.