NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Monday came down heavily on India for shooting at a Pakistani helicopter carrying the Prime Minister of Occupied Kashmir which has strayed across the LoC in the Pooch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday afternoon.
"I had gone to Forward Kahuta to condole the death of one of my ministers' brother and meet the residents of the area adjacent to the LoC. While we were passing through Abbaspur, the Indian army suddenly opened fire at my helicopter. Luckily, we remained unhurt and the helicopter was not damaged," PM Raja Farooq Haider Khan told the 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.
Admitting that standard operating procedures called on both sides to intimate each other before flying close to the LoC, Haider said that the rule applied to military and not civilian helicopters, adding that he had frequently travelled in the area but such an incident had never happened.
Condemning the incident as an "act of cowardice", Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Mian Shahbaz Sharif said the attack was a severe violation of international and bilateral laws.
In order to prevent accidental escalations and create a buffer zone, a 1991 bilateral agreement stipulates that rotary-wing aircraft (helicopters) will not fly within 1 km and 'fixed-wing aircraft' like fighters, bombers and other reconnaissance aircraft within 10 km of each other's airspace without prior intimation.
Indian military sources said the white chopper with blue stripes, "flying very high," violated Indian airspace for two-three minutes, leading to Indian Army troops in forward bases opening fire with small arms, and two IAF fighters being scrambled in the Gulpur sector.
"It could likely to be a civil chopper and was flying very high. The air sentries at forward location had engaged it with small arms," spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said. Another official said that "these were only warning shots," and that "if we had really wanted to engage, the Pakistani craft would not have escaped."