Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday accused India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “whipping up war hysteria” and cited a US report to dismiss its claims of downing an F-16 fighter of the Pakistan Air Force.
“The truth always prevails and is always the best policy. BJP’s attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F-16 has backfired with US Defence officials also confirming that no F-16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet,” he said in a tweet.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reiterated that it shot down a PAF F-16 on February 27 as it thwarted a retaliatory attempt from the neighbouring country after hitting a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot the previous day.
The issue came back to the fore after American magazine Foreign Policy reported US officials as maintaining that a count of the F-16s with Pakistan has found that none was missing.
The IAF said that its MiG 21 Bison shot down a Pakistani F-16 aircraft in Nowshera sector, but Pakistan has denied that it had deployed F-16 fighter jets on February 27 and said it had used the JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft.
The Indian Air Force had conducted the Balakot strikes after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir.