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Pakistan retracts charge of airspace violation by IAF aircraft

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File photo of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

NEW DELHI (BNS): To ease the simmering tension with India, Pakistan has retracted its charge of alleged airspace violation by Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft and termed it as a “technical incursion.”


“It is not an incursion as such. It is a technical incursion that was when it (Jets) entered the Pakistani airspace,” Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said while addressing a press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Islamabad on Sunday.


“There are two versions about the incursions and my version is the correct version,” Zardari said, adding that incursions do happen when planes fly at about 40,000 to 50,000 feet high and execute a turn.


Islamabad had alleged that IAF aircraft had violated its airspace in Lahore and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir sectors at 11.30 am and 1.05 pm on Friday. The Pakistan Air Force claimed that its jets forced the IAF out of its territory.


PAF spokesman Air Commodore Humayun Viqar Zephyr also described the incident as a technical incursion of a “minor nature made by mistake.” Speaking to news channels, he allayed fears that the PAF was on a red alert, adding that it was performing routine tasks.


Earlier, in New Delhi, IAF spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani had dismissed the Pakistani charge and said that there had not been any violation of the Pakistani airspace. Senior officials at IAF headquarters had termed the Pakistani charge as “propaganda” with no material to substantiate it.


On the day of the alleged incident, Pakistan's Information Minister Sherry Rehman was quoted as telling the Dawn news channel that the alleged violation had been taken up with the Indian authorities, who had described the violations as “inadvertent.”


“We have spoken to the Indian Air Force; they have informed us that this is an inadvertent incursion. We have made a routine response and the Pakistan Air Force is on alert. There is no need to hype the issue further than this,” Rehman was quoted as telling the channel.


Situation between the two neighbours has been tense following the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26. India has alleged that Pakistani nationals were involved in waging the attack on the country’s financial capital.


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