Pakistan’s Foreign Office has demanded an explanation for the unprovoked violation of the country’s airspace by a ‘super-sonic flying object’ from India, summoning the Indian charge d’affaires to register protest over the ‘disregard for air safety and callousness towards regional peace and stability’.
According to Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, the Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had been monitoring the high-speed flying object inside India’s territory, when suddenly the object manoeuvred towards Pakistan, ultimately falling near Mian Channu, Khanewal district at 6:50pm on March 9.
The DG ISPR said that the object had damaged civilian properties when it crashed, but no causalities were reported.
Air Vice Marshall Tariq Zia, told the press that the projectile intersected two active airway routes, adding that several commercial airlines were flying in the area. He highlighted the loss of life which could have occurred if the projectile had struck one of these airplanes.
“If you look at the speed and height of the projectile, it was 40,000 feet high, and the airlines were between 35,000 to 42,000 feet. This could have been very detrimental to the safety of passengers”, he said.
In just three minutes and 44 seconds, the projectile managed to travel 124 kilometres inside Pakistan’s borders.
In a statement issued to India’s charge d’affaires, the FO noted that the “imprudent launch of the flying object not only caused damage to civilian property but also put at risk human lives on ground”.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also indicated he was ‘concerned’ about the incident, adding that ‘India will have to be answerable for this’.