Rumours of war create panic in Pakistan

December 22nd, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiIslamabad, Dec 22 (IANS) The Pakistan Air Force has increased its vigilance flights creating panic and sparking war rumours, as Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar Chaudhry Monday warned that the country had the potential and right to defend itself if forced to war.”If India tried to thrust war, then the armed forces of Pakistan have all the potential and right to defend (the country),” Chaudhry told reporters, as he said the defence of Pakistan was in strong hands.

Chaudhry said India would never want war because “if it breaks out, then god forbid the situation might develop into a nuclear war.”

He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s statement relating to war with Pakistan was nothing but an election stunt.

Meanwhile, PAF jet flights over Lahore and Rawalpindi created panic sparking rumours that India had launched attack to target Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and offices of other jihadi organisations.

Mobile phone messages that have now become major source of information started circulating that PAF jets were flying to counter Indian attacks. However, television channels quoting officials were quick to dispel the rumours.

GEO TV quoting an official spokesman said PAF has increased vigilance and the flights over Rawalpindi and Lahore were inside Pakistan. The PAF is on high alert since reports of any possible attack by India.

“In the current environment, the PAF has enhanced its vigilance,” PAF spokesman Air Commodore Humaun Viqar was quoted as saying. Other channels also quoted different officials that Pakistan forces were on alert but dispelled rumours of any attack.

However, residents in Islamabad and other cities came out of their homes and offices and started calling media organisations.

Reports said all airports of the country were also put on high alert. Flights bound for Dubai from Lahore and another from Quetta were halted while all entry passes at Lahore airport have been cancelled.

Sources said that such measures were taken for landing of the PAF aircraft in case of any emergency while they flew over Lahore and Rawalpindi.

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