A day after a Pakistan army helicopter was spotted violating the Indian airspace, PoK’s “Prime Minister” Raja Farooq Haider on Monday claimed that the white chopper he was travelling in was “very close” to the LoC but within Pakistan’s airspace, and that there was no need to inform the Indian authorities about the flight as it was not a military helicopter.
The white-colour helicopter crossed the Line of Control (LOC) in the Poonch sector of Jammu-Kashmir and flew over the Gulpur and Digwar villages along the LOC for two minutes before returning to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK). It was turned back after it was “engaged by air sentries”.
Three forward posts fired small arms after noticing the airspace violation, sources said.
Reports said that the helicopter intruded about 700 metres into the Indian airspace near the Nole post in the Gulpur sub-sector.
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) leader Haider said he was travelling with two ministers and his personal staff officer in a civilian white-coloured aircraft on Sunday when it was attacked near Abbaspur village.
“I had gone to Forward Kahuta to condole the death of the brother of one of my ministers 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,” he said.
“We were very close to zero line but we were within our space. Moreover, it was a civilian helicopter so the Indian army should not have opened fire at it,” Haider added.
He said that military helicopters, on both sides, intimate each other before flying according to the standard operating procedure.
As it was a civilian helicopter, there was no need to intimate about it, Haider said, adding that he frequently travels in the area but such an incident had never happened.
He said that he would formally take up the matter with the government of Pakistan to pursue the issue and take appropriate action.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif said the attack was a severe violation of international and bilateral laws and also against the diplomatic norms.
Sharif’s PML-N rules PoK and Haider is a leading member of the party.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office has so far not commented on the incident.
The intrusion comes just a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj assailed Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly for nurturing and backing terrorism in the region.
Speaking at the UNGA on Saturday, Swaraj had torn into Pakistan and its newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan over multiple transgressions along the LoC and the international border, and for harbouring globally-wanted terrorists on its soil.
(With PTI inputs)