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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Military honours conferred upon PAF pilots for downing Indian jets

Pakistan acknowledges its two fighter pilots for protecting the land from Indian aggression. However, India’s announcement of a gallantry award for its captured pilot Abhinandan Varthaman has left Pakistani Twitter users clueless.

News Desk |

President Arif Alvi conferred military honours upon Pakistan Air Force pilots Wing Commander Noman Ali and Squadron Leader Hasan Mehmood for downing two Indian jets on 14th August, Pakistan’s Independence Day.

Wing Commander Noman Ali was conferred Sitara-i-Jurat and Sq Leader Hasan Mehmood Siddiqui was awarded Tamgha-i-Jurat, the ISPR informed. President Arif Alvi had approved awards for the two fighter pilots along with Pakistan civil awards for other 116 individuals including some foreign nationals in recognition of their excellence and courage in their respective fields.

President Alvi announced Sitara-i-Jurat for one, Tamgha-i-Jurat for two, Sitara-i-Bisalat for eight, Tamgha-i-Bisalat for 88 and certificates for 94 forces’ personnel.

In February, Pakistan and Indian fighter jets engaged in aerial combat following the Pulwama attack on Indian military which claimed the lives of nearly 40 Indian troops. On February 27th, Pakistan Air Force jets foiled India’s second attempt of intrusion in Pakistan from LOC in Kashmir.

PAF failed the Indian mission of targeting civilians. On the contrary, India had claimed to conduct a successful strike against JeM terror camps in Balakot, which they named ‘Balakot Operation’.

Squadron leader Siddiqi thwarted the second attempt of violation of Pakistan’s airspace by Indian Air Force. Subsequently, the targeted Indian jets were destroyed and the rubble of one of the Indian jets fell into the territory of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, leading to the capture of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Sinha, who survived the crash.

Squadron Leader Hassan was widely praised on social media for downing Indian jets.  Videos circulating on social media show the colleagues on the Base warmly welcomed Squadron leader Hassan as he returned after shooting down two Indian jets.

Squadron Leader Hassan Siddiqui garnered appreciation from the people of Pakistan for acting courageously in the defense of the country. Earlier, India violated the airspace of Pakistan in the early hours of Tuesday morning, however, Pakistan Air Force swiftly chased off the Indian jets from the airspace of Pakistan within few minutes.

Small videos paying tribute to Squadron Leader Hassan Siddiqui have been circulating on social media. Later in the night people in different cities of Pakistan, particularly Karachi came to the streets and chanted slogans in support of Pakistan’s armed forces. They credited Squadron Leader Hassan Siddiqui for uplifting the morale of the public in this war-like situation perpetuated by aggressive tactics from India.

Read more: PAF’s pride: Sq. Ldr Hassan Siddiqui, who shot down IAF jet

Squadron Leader Siddiqui had expressed his high resolve and determination for the protection of the country. He says he is ready to confront the enemies with even greater valour and courage in the future. Squadron Leader Hassan, hailing from Karachi, was even featured in a song paying tribute to Pakistan Air Force’s bravery and professionalism.

Indian Military Lauds Abhinandan Varthaman

On the other hand, India has also bestowed Abhinandan Varthaman with its third-highest military award. India, on Wednesday, awarded gallantry medals to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and five other Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots who violated the airspace of Pakistan in February.

Vir Chakra has been awarded to Varthaman; the Vayu Sena Medal was awarded to Wing Commander Amit Ranjan, Squadron Leaders Rahul Basoya, Pankaj Bhujade, B.K.N. Reddy, and Shashank Singh.

Varthaman returned home safely after Pakistan released him as a ‘peace gesture’ to diffuse the tensions, which escalated in February, earlier this year. He was held captive after his MiG-21 was shot down by PAF.

Read more: Pakistanis praise PAF for chasing away Indian jets

Indian Air Force, twice, violated the air space of Pakistan in February. In its first attempt, Indian Aircrafts entered Pakistan’s airspace in the Balakot region but were swiftly chased off by PAF jets within minutes of intrusion. PAF failed the Indian mission of targeting civilians.

On the contrary, India had claimed to conduct a successful strike against JeM terror camps in Balakot, which they named ‘Balakot Operation’. Their claims however stands unverified to date. The second attempt came on the next day on Wednesday, February 27th, when two Indian Air Force jets intruded into the air space of Pakistan from LOC Kashmir, one of which was flown by Abhinandan Varthaman.

Social media reactions

Pakistani Twitter users including Shireen Mazari, the Federal Human Rights Minister, have given interesting reactions to India honoring its captured pilot Abhinandan.