A picture of the wreckage of a Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter jet, which was shot down by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and landed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Wednesday, has now surfaced. According to ANI, the photograph shows Commanding Officer of Pakistan’s 7 Northern Light Infantry inspecting the wreckage.
The picture comes a day after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) violated Indian airspace, with IAF jets then scrambling and engaging in a dogfight across the Line of Control (LoC). This resulted in PAF’s F-16 being downed, while IAF in turn also lost one of its MiG-21 aircraft. Both jets landed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Initially, Pakistan’s Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had claimed that PAF had shot down two IAF aircraft and captured two of its pilots. Pakistan Prime Minster Imran Khan in his address on Wednesday had also claimed that the PAF had shot down two Indian’s jets and taken into custody its “pilots”.
Although a Pakistani military spokesperson later clarified that it had in its custody only one IAF pilot, it appears Pakistan’s wrong assessment over the shooting down of its F-16 jet had led to the erroneous claim, both by Imran Khan and Major General Asif Ghafoor.
In the press conference on Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said, “The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts.”
MEA’s briefing came after Pakistan released a video of the IAF pilot it had captured. While the MEA is yet to name the IAF pilot, subsequent videos released by Pakistan showed that he identified himself as Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Later on Wednesday, the Indian government “strongly objected to the vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention.”
The escalation of tension between India and Pakistan comes after IAF carried out air strikes across the LoC on terror camps belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed, which had claimed responsibility for the attack in Pulwama that killed over 40 CRPF jawans.