The International Media group Reuters’ team has been denied access to the location of Balakot air strikes by the Pakistani government. Pakistani security officials prevented a Reuters team from climbing the hill to a site of a madarsa and adjoining 4-5 buildings in Balakot which were bombed by the Indian Air Force on February 26, 2019, in the retaliatory attacks in the aftermath of Pulwama attack.
#NewsAlert – Reuters denied access to Balakot. Pakistan stops our team from accessing Balakot site: Reuters. What’s Pakistan trying to hide? #IndiaSrikesBack | @Zakka_Jacob with more details pic.twitter.com/AcR7Uh846E
— News18 (@CNNnews18) March 8, 2019
This is not the first time that Pakistan has blocked media access to the IAF’s air strike site. The journalists from Reuters have trekked up to the hill thrice in last 9 days and their request to access to the buildings including the Jaish-e-Muhammad’s purported religious school has been denied all 3 times.
The Indian foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale, in his press conference, a few days ago had claimed that a very large number of JeM terrorists, commanders, senior leaders have perished in the air strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force. Even the Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa confirmed it in his press conference that his team had indeed hit the terror camps that were intended to be targeted.
Pakistan had earlier claimed that Indian bombs had destroyed nothing but a few trees in the region. However, Pakistan’s repeated denial to access the location where JeM madarsa was operational suggests that there’s more to this than meets the eye.
While Pakistan has been insistent on its claim that the Indian air strikes achieved nothing, its denial of access to international media groups to the site raises further doubts on its claims. The sentries guarding the madrasa, who have refuted the claims of Indian attack, have asserted that ‘security concern’ is the reason for denying access to media representatives.