Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan came under intense pressure and criticism after India destroyed Jasih-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camps and launchpads at three locations across the LoC in a pre-dawn air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Khan had earlier warned retaliation in case New Delhi picked the military option to avenge the 14 February Pulwama terror attack.
While Pakistani politicians expressed their support for retaliation, the National Assembly of Pakistan also witnessed jibes at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government led by Khan.
Former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar demanded to know why Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the current Pakistani Foreign Minister, and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak were not present in the Assembly when the country was dealing with “an aggression” by India.
“They (the ministers) say that they are very busy and in a meeting. We need a relevant minister here. Neither the Foreign Minister nor the Defence Minister is here,” Khar, who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan from 2011 to 2013, said.
“PM should himself come to parliament and address the house,” she demanded.
Though close to Imran Khan, former National Assembly speaker Syed Fakhar Imam, apparently compared Khan’s leadership to that of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s.
“Freedom given by Jinnah has been challenged by India. Modi’s leadership may be good for them, but for us he is doom. He has proved it today. We must respond, our survival has been challenged by Modi,” he said.
Commenting on the air strike, PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq said, “Any member or any Pakistani cannot but come together against India ever since Modi came to power.”
Calling for presenting a united front, former defence minister Khawaja Asif said, “Our country, our sovereignty, our integrity are being threatened.”
The PML-N leader said that time is “not for political point-scoring”.
Asif said, asking that a joint sitting of Parliament be convened today. “It is the need of the hour that we show solidarity with the Army.”
The opposition leaders demanded a joint parliamentary session to discuss the Indian air strike.
The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan, said that a joint parliamentary session has been summoned.
“A joint parliamentary session will take place,” the MoS said as he responded to the demand of the leaders of opposition parties on the floor of the National Assembly. “I will try that the session is summoned today even if it is at midnight.”
In a major pre-emptive strike, the Indian Air Force (IAF) dropped multiple 1000 kg laser-guided bombs on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest camp in Balakot. The mission was carried out to avenge the 14 February Pulwama terror attack.
This was the first time the IAF fighter jets were sent across the LoC since the 1971 Indo-Pak War.
Reports say that 12 IAF Mirage 2000 fighter jets took off from Gwalior for the mission which started 3.30 am. The mission was over by 4.06 am.
At 5.12 am, Pakistani Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor put out a tweet confirmed that IAF fighter jets did cross the LoC.
The MEA said that “non-military preemptive action was specifically targeted at the JeM camp” and target was selected “by our desire to avoid civilian casualties”.