On Friday, media reports had claimed that a Pakistani F-16 pilot had been lynched in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) after being mistaken for an Indian, immediately after the skirmish between the IAF and the PAF along LoC.
The news of the Pakistan F-16's pilot lynching was reported on Facebook by London-based lawyer Khalid Umar. Firstpost's Praveen Swami quoted Umar's post which talked of how Shahaz-ud-Din, after parachuting out of his aircraft, landed in the Laam valley that stretches westward from Naushehra to PoK.
It was then that he was attacked by an angry mob who mistook him for an IAF pilot and went on to lynch him.
Umar claimed that Shahaz was the son of a retired Air Marshal Wasimuddin, who had flown both the F-16 and the Mirage 2000.
Swami quoted an Indian source as saying that even Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson Ghafoor might have mistaken Shahaz as the second 'Indian pilot'.
"There was probably miscommunication up the chain of command,” a military source explained.
However, now it emerges that the 'poignant' story might not stand scrutiny.
An Asia Times report by Saikat Datta and Kunwar Khuldune Shahid says that while Air Marshal Wasimuddin did serve in the PAF, he did not have a son named Shahaz-ud-Din.
The retired Pakistani fighter pilot has two sons, Aleem Uddin and Waqar Uddin. While Waqar is studying in Warwickshire in the UK, Aleem, who has studied at Royal Holloway, the University of London, is a telecom employee.
Wasimuddin also said that none of his sons have ever flown an aircraft.
“I have not considered any legal action. I actually laughed them off. My sons have been abroad for years. Unfortunately, they have been needlessly dragged into all this,” he said, while reacting to the Indian version of the whole incident.
PAF officials too confirmed that the retired Air Marshal was asked to record a video as a rebuttal to Indian media claims, which he was not keen on.
However, the latest report now puts a question mark on the story that the F-16 pilot was killed.
Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail, a former F-16 pilot, who wrote a book called Great Air Battles of Pakistan Air Force, believes the Indian claim has no merit.
“It is relatively easy to provide incontrovertible evidence for such a kill by the IAF,” Tufail said, claiming data that would support the claim should be in the hands of the Indian Air Force.