ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top military and civil officials Wednesday gave an in-camera briefing to the lawmakers about the escalating tensions with India following the Pulwama terror attack.
The briefing was arranged by the government at the Parliament House in order to take the opposition parties into confidence about the current security situation. Tensions between India and Pakistan rose following the February 14 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.
Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group claimed responsibility for the attack. Following the incident, India bombed and destroyed JeM's biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control (LoC) early Tuesday, killing a "very large number" of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.
On Wednesday, Pakistan claimed it shot down two Indian fighter jets over Pakistani air space and arrested a pilot. Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was present with other military officials, including army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani were also present.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed the leaders on the government's strategy, while Ghafoor apprised them about the military aspects of the current situation. The participants were also briefed about the National Command Authority meeting that took place earlier in the day.
"All parliamentary leaders have been taken into confidence by the government about the prevailing situation," Qureshi said. Moting that it was a good meeting, Qureshi told reporters that all political parties expressed their support for the government and the armed forces.
Defence minister Pervez Khattak told the media that efforts were on to defuse the growing tensions and expressed hoped that something good will come out. From the government side, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood and others also atttended the meeting.
Several senior leaders from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz such as former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, former defence minister Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal were present.
Senior Pakistan Peoples Party leader Khursheed Shah, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Naveed Qamar, Sherry Rehman, Saleem Mandviwala and former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani were also in attendance.