Islamabad (Web Desk): Pakistan has categorically rejected the entirely baseless Indian claims that a Pakistani F-16 aircraft was shot down by an Indian pilot before he was captured by Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in February 2019.
In a statement on Tuesday, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Asim Iftikha said that the citation of the award to the downed Indian pilot is a classic case of Indian fabrications and pure fantasy to appease domestic audience and hide the embarrassment.
International experts and the US officials have already confirmed that no Pakistani F-16 was shot down on the day, after taking stock of Pakistani F-16 aircraft.
“India’s insistence on propagating a lie that has been thoroughly exposed is ludicrous and nonsensical,” the statement said, adding that granting a military honours for imaginary feats of gallantry is contrary to every norm of military conduct.
“By giving such award, also as an afterthought, India has only made a mockery of itself,” the FO statement said.
Foreign Office Spokesman said it is obvious that India’s farcical story has no credibility whatsoever before the international community.
The FO spokesperson reminded that in a daring day light action, two Indian aircraft were shot down by Pakistan Air Force on 27 February 2019.
One of the Indian Mig-21 Bison aircraft fell down in (AJK).
The pilot who ejected was captured by Pakistan and later released as a goodwill gesture.
His return to India was testimony of Pakistan’s desire for peace despite India’s hostility and ill-conceived aggressive action.
The FO spokesperson said another Indian aircraft SU 30 shot down by Pakistan Air Force fell on the other side of LOC.
On the same day, in panic, Indian military shot down its own MI 17 helicopter near Srinagar which initially denied, was accepted later on.
He said Indian Air Force (IAF) was completely outplayed on the day.
The spokesperson said Pakistan on its part stands ready and resolute to thwart any hostile designs.
“India would do well to learn a lesson from its botched attempt to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and refrain from any misadventure in future,” the statement said.
It is pertinent to mention that IAF pilot and Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman, who was arrested in 2019 by Pakistani forces after his MiG 21 aircraft was shot down by Pakistan Air Force (PAF), was awarded the Vir Chakra on Monday, the third-highest Indian military honour during wartime.
According to Indian media, Abhinandan has been bestowed with the honour of "shooting down a Pakistani F-16 plane during the February 2019 dogfight".
The Vir Chakra award to Abhinandan was announced in August 2019 but was awarded today in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.