ISLAMABAD, Feb 27 (APP): Pakistan on Saturday celebrated the second anniversary of the “Operation Swift Retort’ that its air force had launched against intruding Indian jets in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on February 27, 2019, shooting down the adversary’s aircraft and arresting a pilot.

The main ceremony was held at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) headquarters here, which was telecast live by all media channels besides airing documentaries based on the whole episode starting from the Pulwama incident to shooting down of two Indian aircraft, arrest and release of the captured pilot Abhinandan as a goodwill gesture by Pakistan.

The television channels screened that how India showed aggression against Pakistan after the Pulwama incident, committed airspace violation and made a false claim of an airstrike.

The documentaries also carried the details that how the fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) engaged the invading aircraft of India on February 26, 2019, which fled back and dropped their payload in panic.

The next day, the PAF jets not only engaged the Indian aircraft on the violation of the airspace but also downed two of them, proving the Pakistan claim correct that the response of aggression would be “unusual, exclusive and stunning.”

February 27, 2021 was marked as the ‘Surprise Day’ to pay tribute to the valiant Shaheens for their heroic defence of the motherland while retaliating to Indian Air Force (IAF) violation of its sovereign territories on a momentous day.

President Dr Arif Alvi said Pakistan’s desire to maintain peace in the region must not be taken as its weakness.

“Will for peace is our strength, never consider it our weakness,” the President said in a tweet, saluting to the country’s valiant armed forces for making unsuccessful the Indian attempt of violating Pakistan’s airspace.

“Downing an Indian plane in our territory, we showed our resolve and superiority against all aggressors,” he said, adding Pakistan wanted peace, but not at the cost of sacrificing the brutalized people of Kashmir.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan always stood for peace and remained ready to move forward to resolve all outstanding issues with India through dialogue.

He congratulated the nation and saluted the armed forces on the second anniversary of the country’s response to India’s illegal, reckless military strikes against Pakistan.

“As a proud and confident nation, we responded with determined resolve at a time & place of our choosing,” he said in a series of tweets.

Imran Khan said, “We also demonstrated to the world Pakistan’s responsible behaviour in the face of India’s irresponsible military brinkmanship, by returning the captured Indian pilot.”

Addressing a ceremony at the Air Headquarters, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan said the PAF proved its capability of being ‘second to none’ as per the vision of the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam  Muhammad Ali Jinnah, during the Operation Swift Retort on February 27, 2019, besides establishing its supremacy in the air.

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Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, addressing the audience during the commemoration ceremony of Operation Swift Retort at Air Headquarters. APP

“Thanks to Almighty Allah that the PAF had deterred the aggressor (India) who gravely miscalculated and challenged our sovereignty,” he said and added that on the strength of capability and resolve, the PAF responded in a manner that made the nation proud.

He also appreciated all PAF personnel for their professionalism, valour and commitment during Operation Swift Retort.

“Pakistan is a responsible and peace-loving nation and its armed forces are prepared to defend its territorial integrity at all costs.”

He said Pakistan’s efforts for global and regional peace particularly in Afghanistan, Middle East and UN peacekeeping missions were being acknowledged by the international community. “One such manifestation of peace was witnessed by the world through unconditional return of the captured Indian pilot by the government of Pakistan.”

The Air Chief emphasized: “However, let me make it clear that our desire for peace should not be misunderstood. In case of any misadventure, our response would be swift, resolute and unwavering.”

A documentary was also screened on the occasion highlighting the circumstances leading to an Indian Air Force airstrike at Balakot and its subsequent rapid response by the PAF in the shape of Operation Swift Retort leaving Indian forces badly humiliated and defeated in the encounter. Former Air Chiefs and a large number of PAF officials witnessed the ceremony.

Earlier, a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Air Force presented the Guard of Honour.

Another important event of the ceremony was a spectacular fly past by two formations of PAF fighter aircraft including F-16, JF-17, F-7 and Mirage.  The ceremony was rounded off with soulful performance by the young students of Fazaia School and College.

Director General Inter Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar said February 27, 2019 was the testament that Pakistan Armed Forces, with support of the nation, would always defend the motherland against all threats.

In a tweet, he said it was not the numerical strength of the armed forces that gave nation dominance over its adversary in wars rather the valour and determination of a resilient nation that achieves victory in the end.

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“It is not the numbers but courage and will of a resilient nation that triumphs in the end.”
Major General Babar Iftikhar further said: “Pakistan stands for peace but when challenged, shall respond with full might.”

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said that February 27 was the day of pride and glory for the entire Pakistani nation.

In a tweet, the minister said that the hawks of Pakistan Air Force thwarted the enemy’s evil designs and raised the head of the entire nation with pride.

Shibli Faraz said that Pakistan was a proponent of peace in the region but was fully capable of responding to any aggression.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan wanted to resolve its issues with India through peaceful dialogue and desired resolution of the Kashmir dispute according to the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In a televised statement, he said, “We have to find solution to our core issues. We have to find a way through peaceful dialogue.”

Pakistan wanted dialogue with India but it could not ignore the human right violations of Kashmiris and wanted talks on the Kashmir issue in line with the UN Security Council resolutions, he added.

The minister said Pakistan had no aggressive designs but if the Balakot like episodes were repeated, Pakistan knew how to defend itself.

On February 26, 2019, he said India attacked Pakistan, crossed our borders and bombed Balakot and told the world that it attacked a militant camp and killed about 300 terrorists.

Today the facts were before the world that there was no militant camp and no terrorists were killed there. It was a drama staged for political objectives and for success in the elections and to retake the lost status in politics, he noted.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security, Dr Moeed Yusuf said the nation came together on February 27, two years ago, and showed the world capability and resolve to defend sovereignty of the country.

In a tweet, the SAPM presented his salute to the armed forces’ personnel ensuring people’s safety and security of every inch of the motherland.

He said: “I especially salute our brave soldiers, sailors and airmen whose tireless vigil keeps our people safe and defends every inch of our homeland.”