Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), has claimed that an Indian “high speed flying object” fell in Mian Channu located in Punjab province’s Khanewal district, Dawn news reported.
“It was a supersonic flying object, most probably a missile, but it was certainly unarmed,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Earlier reports had suggested that a private aircraft had crashed in the area.
“On March 9, at 6.43 p.m, a high speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF),” the ISPR chief said.
“From its initial course, the object suddenly manoeuvred towards Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s air space, ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6.50 p.m.
“When it fell, it damaged civilian properties,” he said, adding no loss of life was reported.
“PAF continuously monitored the complete flying path of the object, from its point of origin near Sirsa in India to its point of impact, near Mian Channu. It initiated requisite tactical actions.
“It is important to highlight that the flight path of this object endangered many international and domestic passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani air space as well as human life and property on ground.
“Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain. It, nevertheless, shows their disregard for aviation safety and reflects very poorly on their technological prowess and procedural efficiency,” Dawn quoted the ISPR chief as saying.
He added that this could have resulted in a major aviation disaster.
“Pakistan strongly protests this flagrant violation and cautions against recurrence of any such incident in the future,” he warned.
Air Vice Marshall Tariq Zia told the media that at the time this projectile was picked up, there were two airway routes active and several commercial airlines in the area.
“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.”