Islamabad: Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan on Saturday said Bharatiya Janata Party’s attempt to win elections “backfired” as US defence officials debunked New Delhi’s claim that it shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial dogfight between the two sides in February.
“The truth always prevails and is always the best policy,” the Pak PM tweeted.
“BJP’s attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F-16 has backfired with US defence officials also confirming that no F-16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet,” he added.
A day earlier, two senior US defense officials with direct knowledge of the situation told Foreign Policy magazine that US personnel recently counted Pakistan’s F-16s and found none missing.
The findings directly contradict the account of Indian Air Force officials, who said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman managed to shoot down a Pakistani F-16 before his own plane was downed by Pakistan Air Force, the publication states.
The count, conducted by US authorities on the ground in Pakistan, casts doubt on India’s version of events, suggesting that Indian authorities may have misled the international community about what happened that day, it adds.
One of the senior US defense official was quoted as saying that , Pakistan invited the United States to physically count its F-16 planes after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalised.
The count has been completed, and “all aircraft were present and accounted for,” the official said.
Tensions soared between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the February 14 , after CRPF convoy was attacked in Pulwama.