New Delhi: While Pakistan is maintaining the stance that none were killed during Balakot airstrikes by Indian Air Force (IAF), an Italian reported Francesca Marino has come out with a report that pegs the number of those killed between 130 and 170 including those who died afterwards in a Pakistani hospital.
The journalist wrote in StringerAsia that the airstrikes on 26 February “immediately killed a large number of JeM cadres”. He says that 11 trainers were also killed in the attack including bomb makers and those providing weapons training to the new recruits. Two of these trainers were from Afghanistan.
Francesca Marino adds that JeM cadres visited the families and relatives of those who were killed and offered compensation in return for complete silence about the incident.
According to the report, the Pakistani army had reached the destroyed terror JeM camp after two hours of the attack and cordoned off the area. They shifted the injured to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen camp in Shinkari, which was 20 km from the JeM camp. The injured were treated by Pakistani military doctors and some 45 are still lingering in the hospital. None of the recovered terrorists have been discharged by the hospital.
The site of the attack at Balakot is still out of bounds for the public and even the police. All traces of the terrorist camps have been wiped off to make it look as if nothing has happened there.
The journalist said, “The camp is still under the control of the Army, with a Captain rank officer of the Mujahid battalion in command. The access to the dust track leading to the camp is still restricted, even to the local police. Apart from a few children and 3-4 teachers, the camp has been cleared of any traces of it earlier being a JeM camp.”
India struck the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Balakot during the wee hours of 26 February in retaliation to the Pulwama attack in which JeM terrorist killed 40 Indian soldiers.
The IAF airstrike using Mirage-2000 jets were highly successful and maximum damage was done to the terror camps.
While India was celebrating the victory of the airstrikes, many opposition leaders and media began to spread the rumour that the government was exaggerating the success of the attacks. Congress leaders quoted the Pakistani authorities version of the attack and blamed the BJP government was lying and that the claim of success was not true.
The report by a foreign journalist goes a long way to establish the truth about the attacks and blunts the opposition’s demand for proof of the number of terrorists killed in the attack.