BY |HAMID MIR|
It was so cold in this beautiful valley that I could feel my teeth chattering after a long time. I was at Khyber Pakhtunkhwas mountainous region of Jabba, situated between Mansehra and Balakot. A day earlier India had claimed to have carried out air strikes on an alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) training camp in Balakot, killing 300 people. The area which was attacked was not Balakot but Jabba, situated at least 20 Kilometres from Balakot.
It took me three-and-a-half hours to reach the small town of Jabba via Abbottabad. The Indian air force had carried out their attack in the early hours of Feb 26 and that same day rain had lashed areas from Islamabad to Balakot, preventing us travelling to Jabba. We had left Islamabad at 4 am on the morning of Feb 27 and reached Jabba at around 7:30 am, where Geo News correspondent Kausar Saleem Bangash was already present to guide us. He had reached the site of the attack the night before in heavy rain but had got injured after slipping & falling down, owing to darkness in the area. Despite his injuries, he was now ready to accompany us. I asked Mr. Bangash how far was the site of the attack? Pointing towards a mountain in front of us, he replied that last night he had reached there in two-and-a-half-hours, but could not say how long it would take us to get there now. We had to cover the distance on foot as there was no road leading to the site of the attack.
All the mountain tops were capped with snow and icy winds chilled me to the bone. We started our ascent slowly. Colourful birds accorded us a warm welcome by flying in circles over the area. After a while, we saw two personnel of Frontier Corps (FC). Upon asking for directions, they signalled towards the peak of a mountain. While climbing I saw a few houses built on the hills on my left and right. Also, there were small wheat and maize fields. Locals depend on wheat, maize and livestock for survival. After climbing for about half an hour, we saw the trees bombed by the Indian air force. Moving up further there was a house, which belonged to Nooran Shah, who was injured in the attack. A bandage was still wrapped around his head. He showed his house to us. I asked Shah about any casualties as a result of Indias bombs. He replied in a serious tone: No, no one was killed, only I got injured. Then he paused for a moment and signalled towards a dead crow lying on the ground at some distance and said: this was killed in the bombardment. Some more people from the area came to see us. They were relatives of Nooran Shah. Is there any Madrasa (religious school) here, I asked? One of the relatives told me that a madrasa is located far away from here but there were no casualties there.
Since there is no road infrastructure in the area, building a house here is an uphill task as mules are used to carry construction material here, he added. Now Shah will have great difficulty getting his house fixed. Another house close to Nooran Shahs was also hit by parts of the bombs but it remained intact as it was well-built. When I approached the house, I saw a little girl holding a white baby lamb. I asked her name and she replied, I am Uzma and this is Gulab she said pointing towards her little lamb. Uzmas father told me that they all fell unconscious when the bombs fell here. He said he was thankful that his kids were not hurt in the attack. I was thinking who India was trying to fool by dropping bombs around innocent kids. In the meantime, my phone started ringing. An acquaintance from Bhimber told me that PAF had shot down an Indian fighter jet and its pilot had been arrested. After hearing the news, we started our descent from the mountain.
Indian Airforce had dropped bombs in a mountainous jungle, while Pakistan Airforce had not only downed Indian jets but also arrested their pilot. Indian PM Narendra Modis staged drama to win oncoming elections has flopped. In India, Modi was facing strong criticism from the opposition while his Pakistani counterpart had received massive support from the opposition benches. On Feb 28, Imran Khan had given a pleasant surprise to the whole world by announcing the release of the captured Indian pilot. The entire world witnessed that while captured Indian pilot Abhinandan was being returned back via Wagah border, Indian forces were heavily shelling several areas along the Line of Control (LOC), martyring several innocent people, including two Pakistani soldiers.
Islamabad had returned captured Indian pilot alive to New Delhi whereas India handed the dead-body of a Pakistani prisoner Shakirullah to the country. It now seems that Modi had staged this whole drama to expose the flaws of Indian Airforce jets so as to justify his purchase of Rafale jets from France.
In every war some heroes and jokers emerge. In this war, Pakistani nations preference for peace had made them emerge as heroes, while Modi and his lies about killing 300 terrorists, while he had only killed a crow in Jabba, had made him emerge as a joker.