Hero pilots who shot down Indian jets appear on national TV for the first time

02:55 PM | 15 Sep, 2019
Hero pilots who shot down Indian jets appear on national TV for the first time

ISLAMABAD – Two Pakistani pilots, who had downed Indian fighter jets in a rare aerial engagement earlier this year, recently appeared on the national TV screens for the first time since the Feb 27 confrontation.

Last month, Wing Commander Noman Ali Khan was conferred Sitara-i-Jurat and Squadron Leader Hasan Mehmood Siddiqui was awarded Tamgha-i-Jurat.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) remembers its Feb 27 response against India as Operation Swift Retort.

Wing Commander Khan, talking to the participants of a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) ceremony in connection with the Operation Swift Retort on Saturday, said the enemy force had failed to evaluate their weakness and PAF’s strength.

He said the enemy [India] carried out airstrikes in the darkness of night and hurried away after the defeat.

“We went, destroyed their targets and stayed there,” Khan said, adding they told the foe how capabale the Pakistani nation and PAF was.

Recalling the Feb 27 encounter, he said no sooner did one of their formations cross the Line of Control, which divides the disputed Kashmir region between Pakistan and India, it was hit and brought down by a missile.

“They didn’t know our strength which is why they made a mistake.”

Hassan Siddiqui, the other fighter pilot who shot down Abhinandan Varthanam’s warplane after it violated Pakistani airspace that day, in a message asked the nation not to worry about country’s security as Pakistan Air Force is fully awake to defend its air frontiers.

“I want to tell them [the country’s enemies] that I will teach [them] a lesson if they cast an evil eye on my country,” he warned, addressing a PAF event in Islamabad.

Those casting an evil eye on Pakistan will meet the same fate as the Feb 27 shooting down of the Indian warplane, said Siddiqui, who was awarded Tamgha-i-jurat on Aug 14 in recognition of his valour and bravery.

Before the hero pilots took the stage to receive the nation’s applaud, Air Marshal Hasseb Paracha – the chief architect of Feb 27 surgical strikes – briefed the audience about PAF’s response to Balakot strikes and the subsequent kills by these pilots.

Operation Swift Retort

A day after IAF fighter jets claimed to have hit a militant camp in Balakot in northern Pakistan, early dawn on Feb 27 saw retaliation from the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

After an aerial engagement in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowshera sector, Pakistan claimed that it captured one Indian pilot.

The downed pilot was identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and seen in a video of what appears to be an interview at a Pakistani Air base, in which he praised the professionalism of Pakistan Army but denied to share any sensitive information.

His warplane, MiG 21 Bison, hit by Wing Commander Nauman Ali Khan, had crashed on Pakistani side of the Line of Control, while the second IAF fighter jet Sukhoi Su-30, which was downed by Sqn Leader Hassan Siddiqui, landed on the Indian side.

The same day, India confirmed the loss of one plane (MiG-21 Bison) and claimed it also shot down a Pakistani jet (F-16) as it responded to the incident. However, the Indian claim was later debunked by US officials who said that they have counted the number of Pakistan Air Force F-16s in service and can say that none were lost to the Indian Air Force on that day.

Pakistan, on March 1, handed over the IAF pilot to India authorities as a gesture of goodwill, never acknowledged by the hardline Hindu government in New Delhi.

The writer is a member of the staff.


Currency Rates in Pakistan Today - Pak Rupee to US Dollar, Euro, Dirham, Riyal 22 May 2024

 Pakistani currency rates against US Dollar and other currencies on May 22, 2024 (Wednesday) in open market.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.15 for buying and 280.05 for selling.

Euro moved down to 297 for buying and 300 for selling while British Pound rate is 349 for buying, and 352.5 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.25 and Saudi Riyal came down to 73.50.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 22 May 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.15 277.15
Euro EUR 297 300
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349 352.5
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.2 75.95
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.45 74.2
Australian Dollar AUD 183 184.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.34 748.34
Canadian Dollar CAD 203 205
China Yuan CNY 38.51 38.91
Danish Krone DKK 40.52 40.92
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.7 36.05
Indian Rupee INR 3.34 3.45
Japanese Yen JPY 1.91 1.99
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.3 912.3
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.34 59.94
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.11 172.11
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.92 26.22
Omani Riyal OMR 723.13 731.13
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203 205
Swedish Korona SEK 25.98 26.28
Swiss Franc CHF 305.97 308.47
Thai Bhat THB 7.67 7.82


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