United Kingdom investigators expose Indian claims of shooting down Pakistani F-16



Tens of thousands of Indian and Pakistani soldiers face off along the Kashmir boundary known as the Line of Control, in one of the world's most volatile regions. On the Indian side, a woman and her two children died after their house was pulverised by a mortar shell.

The casualties Saturday bring to six the number of people killed on both sides of Kashmir since overnight Friday.

Across the region villagers huddled in makeshift bunkers while police ordered non-essential traffic off roads, an AFP reporter said.

Several homes were destroyed by Indian shelling, he said.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman crossed the Wagah-Attari border at around 9pm local time (16:00 GMT) on Friday, hours later than expected.

"The Pakistani military is on full red alert, they are flying constant air patrols all over Pakistan and although the airspace has been open, the movement of aircraft between India and Pakistan, especially commercial aircraft is still under restrictions", said Hyder. However, Pakistan denied the Indian claims of using F-16 fighter jets and that one of its planes was shot down by Indian Air Force.

Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan after the February 14 Pulwama attack claimed by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

"Abhinandan has just been handed over to us".

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"India is glad to have you back".

The whole nation was behind Wing Commander Abhinandan and rallied on social media to put pressure on Pakistan to return him safely to India.

A top Indian minister said on Saturday the government would not share proof that "a very large number" of militants were killed in air strikes inside Pakistan this week, after doubts were raised there were any casualties in the attack that stoked tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. The deal has been embroiled in corruption allegations levelled by the opposition Congress party.

In what appeared to be an edited statement aired on Pakistan TV, the wing commander described how he was shot down and rescued from an "agitated" crowd by Pakistani soldiers. He had become the focus of renewed hostilities between the nuclear-armed rivals which have alarmed the global community. Zarif also expressed Iran's readiness to contribute to a peaceful settlement of differences between the two neighboring states, the official website of the Iranian foreign ministry reported.

According to government sources, the delay was because the IAF pilot was made to record a video statement by Pakistani authorities before he was allowed to cross the border.

Tensions between the two nuclear countries have been steadily rising over the last few weeks, after a Pakistani suicide bomber collided with a truck carrying Indian soldiers in Kashmir on February 14, killing at least 40 people.

Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since their independence and bitter split in 1947.

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