Islamabad (Pakistan): Pakistan denied crossing over to the Indian side and breaching the airspace on Sunday but alleged that the chopper, carrying Pakistan-occupied Kashmir leader Raja Farooq Haider Khan and other ministers, was instead attacked by the Indian Army. The claims from the Pakistani side have come a day after video of a chopper violating the Indian airspace along the Line of Control (LoC) in Pooch went viral.
Denying the reports, PoK PM Haider said that they were on their way to visit one of his cabinet members to condole the death of his brother when their chopper was fired at by the Indian Army. He claimed that the helicopter was within the Pakistan “space” and “close to zero line”.
“I had gone to Forward Kahuta to condole the death of one of my ministers’ brother and meet the residents of the area adjacent to the LoC. While we were passing through Abbaspur, the Indian army suddenly opened fire at my helicopter. Luckily, we remained unhurt and the helicopter was not damaged,” Dawn reported the Pok PM as saying.
On why didn’t he intimidate the Indian authorities, Haider said that there was no need as the chopper wasn’t a military one but was a civilian aircraft. “…it was a civilian helicopter so the Indian army should not have opened fire at it,” he said. He further added that he would formally take up the issue with the Pakistan government and demand an appropriate action.
Terming the incident as “cowardice”, AJK President Sardar Masood Khan slammed the Indian Army for their “unprovoked” firing.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Tourism Minister Mushtaq Minhas told The Indian Express that they didn’t know they had breached the airspace agreement nor that, they were being fired at. He said they were informed about the firing when the team landed at their destination.
The Indian officials said that the Pakistani chopper, flying very high, committed the violation at 12.10 PM. Indian troops fired at the helicopter with small arms and the helicopter withdrew into Pakistani territory after five minutes. He added that with the violation, Pakistan breached the airspace agreement between India and Pakistan which states that no chopper can come within one kilometre of the LoC and no fixed-wing aircraft within 10 kilometres.