BJP using war hysteria to win polls | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 07, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:13 AM, April 07, 2019

BJP using war hysteria to win polls

Says Pak PM, slams Indian ruling party over downed F-16 claim

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for "whipping up war hysteria" over claims that India shot down a Pakistani F-16 during a standoff in February, saying the truth is always the best policy.

US-based Foreign Policy magazine, citing US officials, said all of Pakistan's F-16 combat jets had been accounted for, contradicting an Indian air force assessment that it had shot down one of the jets.

"The truth always prevails and is always the best policy," Khan said in a Tweet. "BJP's attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F 16 has backfired with US Defence officials also confirming that no F16 was missing from Pakistan's fleet."

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan engaged in an aerial battle over the disputed region of Kashmir a day after Indian jets crossed over into Pakistan to attack a suspected camp of anti-India militants.

An Indian jet was brought down during the fight and its pilot captured when he ejected on the Pakistani side of the border. He was later released.

India said it too had shot down a Pakistani aircraft and the air force displayed pieces of a missile that it said had been fired by a Pakistani F-16 before it went down.

Details of the India-Pakistan air engagement have not been fully provided by either side. If the US report turns out to be true, it would be a further blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had said that India had taught Pakistan a lesson, ahead of elections next week.

The BJP is campaigning on a platform of tough national security, especially with regard to arch foe Pakistan.

BJP spokesman Bizay Sonkar Shastri dismissed Khan's accusations.

"Firstly, their (Pakistan's) habit of lying is no secret to the world. Secondly, this is absolutely clear that the roots of terrorism lie in Pakistan and terrorism is cultivated in Pakistan," he told Reuters.

The success of Indian air strikes on a camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group in northwestern Pakistan has also been thrown into doubt after satellite images showed little sign of damage.

High-resolution satellite images reviewed by Reuters last month showed that a religious school run by Jaish appeared to be still standing days after India said its warplanes had hit the Islamist group's training camp on the site and killed a large number of militants.

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