Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Monday responded to Indian Home Minister Amit Shah’s congratulatory message to the Indian cricket team after their win over Pakistan in the World Cup clash, in which he said: “Another strike on Pakistan by Team India and the result is same.”
“Congratulations to the entire team for this superb performance. Every Indian is feeling proud and celebrating this impressive win,” said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president on Twitter on Sunday.
Shah was referring to the aerial combat between the two neighbouring countries in February, which happened after Indian aircraft on Feb 26 carried out an airstrike on what it alleged was a “terrorist training camp” in Pakistan.
Doubt has been cast over the success of India’s airstrike, which Shah had claimed killed 250 — a figure that the Indian Air Force distanced itself from.
Pakistan had denied that there was any damage or casualties. Independent reporting by multiple local and international outlets who visited the site also found no evidence of a terrorist training camp or of any infrastructure damage.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, via his personal account, on Monday responded to Shah, saying: “Dear Amit Shah, yes your team won a match. Well played.”
Ghafoor, who is the director general of the Army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), pointed out that “two things with different denominators can’t be compared, so are strikes and match”.
“If in doubt please see results of our Nowshera counter strikes and response to IAF [Indian Air Force] violation on 27 Feb 19 downing two Indian jets,” he said, ending his tweet with: “Stay Surprised.”
Following India’s airstrike on Feb 26, the DG ISPR had held a press conference on the same day to debunk India’s claims on the Line of Control (LoC) violation. “Today, the prime minister has asked everyone to get ready for every eventuality. We are all ready. Now it is time for India to wait for our response,” he had asserted.
“I said that we will surprise you. Wait for that surprise,” he had added. The following day, Pakistan Air Force had announced that its jets had flown into occupied Kashmir to demonstrate its capability to respond to Indian aggression, locked on to military targets, and then spared them.
It had later shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace when they tried to give chase to Pakistani jets, capturing an Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman. The IAF pilot was released by Prime Minister Imran Khan as a “peace gesture”.