New Delhi: “Fort Abbas” trended today on Twitter, thanks to thousands of users of the medium from Pakistan getting agitated over unconfirmed reports on some media outlets of their country that said the place, across the international border along Rajasthan, was bombed in a fresh Indian airstrike. As ‘proof’, the Pakistani media furnished photographs of used munition on a stretch that looked like a desert.
Here is video of Fort Abbas pic.twitter.com/TwbgiIOTSK
— Mohammad Kamran Khan (@Kamran0175) March 4, 2019
Tweets like the above were based on Pakistani media reports and certain tweets by Pakistani journalists.
Breaking: Fresh reports, initial and unconfirmed, of Indian jets entering Pakistani airspace, dropping payload in Fort Abbas. Comes as Pakistan relaxes closure of airspace to commercial/civilian traffic after similar incident last week that led to first dogfight in 48 yrs
— Shayan Shakeel (@shayandahalf) March 4, 2019
Of course, a section of the Pakistani media was not sure what it was talking about. Sample the following mutually contradictory ‘reports’ from a given Pakistani media house.
— Haqeeqat TV (@Haqeeqat_TV) March 4, 2019
Friends, there has been NO attacks on Fort Abbas or Bahawalpur. The pictures & videos floating around & being misinterpreted as missiles are actually of Extra Fuel Tanks dropped by PAF during routine flights. Local people come across these regularly. Calm down & dont fall for it
— Haqeeqat TV (@Haqeeqat_TV) March 4, 2019
Earlier, some reporters who work along the borders, often filing stories based on sources in Indian defence forces, had circulated photographs of the alleged Indian strike on the messaging mobile application WhatsApp.
Lending further credence to the rumour, some Indian journalists tweeted about it although they attributed Pakistanis as the source of the ‘information’.
Pakistan twitter handles ‘claiming’ there have been IAF payloads dropped in Fort Abbas of Bhawalnagar in Pakistan. No confirmation of the same. Important to mention that both Fort Abbas and Fort Maujgarh have camps of Jaish-e-Muhammad as well which were used for Pathankot Attack. pic.twitter.com/ins2mWiKXk
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) March 4, 2019
Pakistani twitter handles tweeting pictures of weapon debris in Fort Abbas (across the international border from Rajasathan's Mahajan firing ranges) claiming possible Indian artillery/air attack. Please don't jump to conclusions until/unless there's clarity or an official word. https://t.co/s1ahKNWGNw
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) March 4, 2019
Fort Abbas happens to be one of the places where Pakistani authorities recently asked the terrorists it sponsors to move to. This made the story about Fort Abbas sound credible.
(On Fort Abbas)
In 2009, Indian intelligence detected that JeM was training personnel at Fort Abbas. The base’s location set off alarms in New Delhi, since it is just a short distance from Faqirwali, on the India-Pakistan border.
– @praveenswami in 2016.https://t.co/5hQ2k5fNUN
— Jaskirat Singh Bawa (@JaskiratSB) March 4, 2019
There has been no statement issued on the subject by the IAF. However, sources in the Indian defence forces say that a Pakistani UAV that was hovering in the Indian airspace was shot down.
To be precise, it was not Fort Abbas. Sources say what appeared like a Pakistani drone had violated the Indian airspace at around 11:30 AM, crossing the international border along Rajasthan.
Sources say some IAF jets scrambled in response and engaged the flying object with an air-to-air missile.
The debris of the ‘drone’ fell near a Pakistani sand dune known as MW Toba.
Indian Twitter users saw the ‘news’ of another airstrike in Pakistan as a demonstration of Pakistani paranoia. Soon, some of them started mocking Pakistanis with GIF images and satirical tweets.
— SOURABH BHATT ?? (@SourabhBhatt15) March 4, 2019
DGISPR Asif Ghafoor :
There is no involvement of IAF in today's bomb blast near Fort Abbas. Pakistan Air Force itself has dropped two bombs to gently remind Fort Abbas citizens as they didn't sign "Imran for Nobel Peace" petition yet. (File Pic) pic.twitter.com/rfZX4Trce3
— Karachi Police (@Chainakya) March 4, 2019
India had indeed hit Pakistan with an airstrike that hit Balakot of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were reported to be receiving training. This followed the JeM’s suicide-bomb strike on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir that killed more than 40 jawans. Estimates of the Pakistani casualty in Balakot range between 300 and 350 terrorists.