Three attempts but no entry: Pakistan stops media from visiting Balakot 'bombing' site

A group of journalists from Reuters were on Friday prevented from climbing the hillock to visit the Islamic seminary and the adjacent buildings in Balakot

Published: 08th March 2019 07:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2019 07:49 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistani reporters and troops visit the site of an Indian airstrike in Jaba, near Balakot, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. | AP

By Online Desk

Pakistani security officials have reportedly sealed off the Jaish camp on a hillock in Balakot, where the IAF claimed to have struck on February 26, for journalists and visitors.

A group of journalists from Reuters were on Friday prevented from climbing the hillock to visit the Islamic seminary and the adjacent buildings.  The path to the buildings was blocked, the Reuters journalists said, adding, it was their third attempt to visit the spot.

The Pakistani security officials who were guarding the place have denied any damage to the site. The officials said they have locked the site due to 'security reasons'.

Vijay Gokhale, India’s foreign secretary had said last week that the airstrike had killed “a very large number of Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, trainers, senior commanders, and groups of jihadis” at the alleged training camp.

Previously, the Pakistani military's press wing had cancelled media visits to the sites citing weather and organisational reasons. The military said no media visits will be possible for a few more days.

Recently-released high-resolution private satellite images reviewed by Reuters showed the madrasa standing, virtually unchanged from an April 2018 satellite photo of the facility.

A few locals said the building that the journalists wanted to visit is not functional anymore.

The team reported that on their previous visits, a local confirmed that the madrasa was being run by Jaish-e-Mohammed. A sign with the group’s name had previously stood near the site but was removed later.

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