PAF flexes its muscles

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Monday scrambled fighter jets over several major cities in a sign of increased “vigilance”, following last month’s deadly attacks on India’s financial centre Mumbai.

“In the current environment, PAF has enhanced its vigilance,” PAF spokesman Air Commodore Humayun Viqar told AFP. Residents in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore made panicked telephone calls to the media outlets to ask about the low-flying fighter jets.

The air force declined to comment on the flights but issued a statement saying that “in view of the current environment, the Pakistan Air Force has enhanced its vigilance.” The apparent exercises briefly delayed two PIA flights, said a spokesman for the airline.

“Two of our flights were delayed for some time because the PAF was conducting some exercises but now everything is back on normal,” said Muhammad Latif, a spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines.

The flights were delayed at the airport in the eastern city of Lahore, near the Indian border, Latif said, while dismissing television news channel reports of a high alert at Pakistani airports.

Our Lahore correspondent adds: Flights of low-lying PAF fighter jets created panic among the people here who made frantic calls to newspapers and television channels to learn more about the unexpected movement of warplanes. Flights of fighter jets sparked rumours and debate among people. Some believed that the planes were IAF jets that had intruded into Pakistan’s airspace while others were of the view that the PAF had scrambled these planes to defend Pakistan’s airspace. People kept glued to their television screens following the flights to get themselves updated.


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