NEW DELHI: Amidst rising tensions with India after the Uri attack, Pakistan on Friday closed the busy highway between Islamabad and Lahore and practiced landing fighter jets on the road for the first time in six years.
The drill was needed “in case your runways get damaged or they are not available for you”, Pakistan Air Force spokesman Commodore Javed Mohammad Ali said. Pakistan authorities, however, claimed the landing was not in response to the heightened tensions with India.
Pakistan forces are said to be on high alert anticipating Indian retaliatory strikes. Dubbing the two-day air exercise labelled High Mark ‘routine’, the spokesman said, “They landed on the road in this, yes. That is something they have been doing for years.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Army chief General Raheel Sharif said Pakistan’s armed forces were capable of countering any threat to the country’s security at any cost, amid an intensifying war of words with India over the Kashmir issue.
“The army chief while speaking to officers and men said that let there be no doubt that our valiant armed forces have the capability to counter complete threat spectrum and Inshaallah with the backing of entire nation we will defend each and every inch of our beloved country, no matter what the cost,” the Army said.
Sharif was visiting the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) located near Kharian in Punjab and inaugurated state of the art features to upgrade its infrastructure to accommodate foreign armies and Pakistani security forces’ growing demand for training.
Meanwhile, two maps depicting the general topography of Uri were recovered from the four terrorists who had stormed into the Uri army base even as the forces intensified efforts to identify the exact stretch along the Line of Control (LoC) from where they entered India.
The maps showed various places of Uri including the Brigade Headquarters and other installations of the town, about 75 km north of Srinagar.
The place is strategically important in view of the power project operated by National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC). The maps would now form a part of investigations handled by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
The Army has also contacted heads of 12 villages located above the Brigade headquarters to ascertain whether they could throw some light about the infiltration, army sources said, adding this was a part of domination drill.
BSF troops on Friday arrested near the International Border in Jammu a Pakistani national and said he was an activist of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) terror outfit. He was in possession of one dual SIM Nokia mobile phone.
(With agency inputs)