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Pak alleges airspace breach, retracts

Pakistan retracted its charge that Indian planes violated its airspace with President Asif Ali Zardari saying it was a "technical incursion", reports Rahul Singh.

world Updated: Dec 14, 2008 23:41 IST
Rahul Singh

Aiming to deflect attention from the role of its citizens had in the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan on Saturday night claimed that Indian fighter jets had violated its airspace in two different sectors. Trashing the charge as “preposterous,” the IAF said on Sunday it was an attempt to spread disinformation.

The Pakistani media had claimed that Pakistan Air Force had scrambled its F-16s to chase the IAF jets from Lahore and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir sectors. However, President Asif Ali Zardari downplayed the incident and said it was a “technical intrusion”.

He told a news conference along with British Prime Minister Gordon in Islamabad, ‘Incursions do happen…the planes were flying at about 40,000 feet when they executed a turn that slightly entered Pakistan's soil.”

Pakistan’s information minister Sherry Rehman said: “We have spoken to the IAF. They said it was an inadvertent incursion.”

However, a senior officer in the Air headquarters said there had been no advertent or inadvertent violation. “Such propaganda serves nobody’s cause at a time when the ties between the two countries have touched a new low,” the officer said.

Some reports from Pakistan had earlier claimed that Indian aircraft had entered one to three miles inside the Pakistani airspace. IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani told HT, “This is nothing but spin and disinformation by vested interests to divert attention from the real issues.”