Chopper Carrying Pak Kashmir PM Comes Under Indian Fire

SRINAGAR: The helicopter that was fired upon by Indian army after it reportedly entered Indian side of Line of Control on Sunday was carrying the Prime Minister of Pakistan-controlled-Kashmir.

According to Pakistani media, Prime Minister of ‘Azad Kashmir’ Raja Farooq Haider Khan was onboard the chopper which was targeted by the Indian Army with small firearms around noon today.

Haider was travelling with two ministers and his personal staff officer in the helicopter that narrowly escaped the attack near Abbaspur village.

“The incident took place in broad daylight when PM Haider was going to visit one of his cabinet members to condole the death of his brother” according to Dawn newspaper.

“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,” he said.

Defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said in Srinagar a white-coloured Pakistani helicopter had violated Indian airspace around noon on Sunday.

It entered around 700m inside the Indian territory and flew over Krishna Ghati sector before returning, he said.

Air sentries at forward locations had engaged it with small arms, a move intended to warn the pilot about the intrusion and force the chopper to turn back. The chopper wasn’t hit.

In a video apparently shot by a witness, a white Pakistani helicopter was seen flying high the side of a Poonch hill amid sounds of constant gunfire — an indication that the Army was trying to shoot it down.

According to norms recognised by both India and Pakistan, helicopters are not supposed to come within one kilometre of the Line of Control or LoC, and fixed-wing aircraft within 10 km. 

Haider said that military helicopters, on both sides, intimated each other before flying according to the standard operating procedure. But as it was a civilian helicopter there was no need to intimate about it, he said. “The PM said he frequently travelled in the area but such an incident had never happened”, Dawn report said.

In February, a Pakistani helicopter was seen flying 300 metres from the LoC, NDTV reported.

Meanwhile President of Pakistan controlled part of Kashmir Masood Khan, according to a statement issued from New York, condemned what he described as ‘unprovoked fire’ by the Indian forces on the civilian helicopter carrying the prime minister and members of his cabinet.

President said that the unprovoked fire was a tactic used to raise tensions in the area and delay any prospective talks on Kashmir.


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