Pakistani mobs at nuclear storage site.

rahwali cantt nuclear weapons storage site

Whole of Pakistan is in turmoil after arrest of former PM Imran Khan. Pakistani Army has shown restraint against the protestors even as houses of senior officers and cantonments are being burnt and looted. But they fired on protesters only at Rahwali cantt. It is interesting because this is one of bigger sites for storage of nuclear weapons. Following text is from my book Kaalkut which tells fictional account of a similar situation and a possible Indian response to rogue elements taking control of nukes.

You can read about Rahwali and other Pakistani nuclear weapons storage sites at this link:

8 November 2020, Pano Aqil, Pakistan
Major General Qasim Rizvi entered Usmania mosque dressed in white salwar kameez and white skull cap. The salwar (pants) was stitched to end two inches above his ankles to meet with the guidelines laid down by Maulana Ilias Yasir, preacher and chief cleric of the mosque. For the last two years, Maj Gen Rizvi had made it a habit to dress up in the same clothing when not wearing his uniform. Most of the congregation of the mosque was dressed like him too. He liked the uniformity of thought that this mosque and its preacher offered. For him, it was a lot like the army, where he had spent the last 35 years of his life. Only less corrupt, more helpful and closer to the teachings of the Quran.

When he had been transferred to Pano Aqil, he used to go to a large army funded mosque in the cantonment where most of the army men went to offer prayers. But he never liked the servile behaviour of the staff and the debauched behaviour of the congregation in a place which was supposed to be free of all pretensions of rank, power and wealth. He hated seeing the clerics trying to curry favour with uniformed generals and could barely control himself when he saw his co-workers making plans involving alcohol and prostitutes even as they washed up for namaz.

He had stopped visiting that mosque after his wife had suffered a stroke and had been bedridden. The sterile and grovelling sermons made by the greedy maulvi always left an unpleasant taste in his mouth. Few days after her death, he had been aimlessly wandering around the city on a holiday when he noticed the blaring sermons from Usmania mosque over a loudspeaker. The preacher was speaking with conviction, had extensive knowledge of Quran and had a strong yet melodic voice that was pleasing to the ears even over loudspeakers. He had entered the mosque which was almost full as if in a trance and sat in a corner listening to the not so old preacher quoting Islamic verses and imparting life lessons for a pure Islamic life.

He visited the mosque again after two days to see the same preacher leading the prayers. Then again and again till it became a daily habit for him. Most of the time, he was in his uniform and had a mandatory armed escort. He couldn’t tell if anyone noticed or cared. He appreciated the fact that the people there didn’t try to get close to him for asking favours or avoided him, just treated him as a fellow Muslim. After around two months of regular visits, he went ahead to introduce himself to Maulana Ilias Yasir and request blessings for his only son who was going to leave for higher studies in Canada. Maulana Yasir was courteous and even kind enough to offer a few kind words to soothe the pain of parting.

Over the next few months, Gen Rizvi opened himself to Yasir as a suffering person would do to a therapist. His crisis of faith after sickness and death of his wife, lack of faith in Pakistani armed forces and the general public, their defeats against kafirs and all around decay and debauchery were all shared with the calm and understanding islamic cleric. It was during one of such long talks that Yasir opened up about himself. He had resigned from his job as Major in Pakistan army over their support for the American invasion of Afghanistan and had joined Taliban militants. He had fought against the American marines and Northern Alliance guerillas for four years before being injured and captured in Herat. He spent five years in the hellish Afghan prison without trial before being released. He had utilised his time in the prison to get closer to Allah. The shrapnel wounds he had made combat impossible for him. So he served Allah in the only other way he knew, by spreading his knowledge about Quran and the way of Islamic life.

Under his influence, Rizvi adopted stricter islamic practices, started praying five times a day compulsorily and even grew his beard minus the moustache. In increasingly radicalised Pakistani society, this was nothing extraordinary. He was already close to retirement and had no interest in lobbying for promotion in an organisation full of power hungry backstabbers. He sometimes thought that his lack of further professional ambition and monetary greed made him less of a threat to his competitors and he was fine with that.
He had a loyal following in the lower ranks though due to his fairness in professional matters. With his increasing display of Islamic piety, his popularity grew steadily. At first, it was his security detail that followed him inside the Usmania mosque. About a year later, he could see a lot more uniformed men, most of them from his unit praying alongside him. At first, he was concerned that this mosque would turn into yet another site of sin like the one in the cantonment. But to his relief, neither the sermons nor behaviour of Maulana changed.
On that day, he offered namaz as usual and sought an audience with Yasir. After the mutually respectful greetings, Rizvi informed the cleric about his upcoming retirement and his plans to go on a pilgrimage. Yasir smiled and congratulated Rizvi but felt that he had something else on his mind. “It seems like there is something else keeping you awake at night.”

Rizvi sighed and rubbed his hands, trying to think of suitable words to say. Noticing him struggling with words, Yasir invited him to his office and offered him a cup of hot tea. After a few encouraging words from the cleric, Rizvi spoke, “I think I’ve done my job to the best of my abilities, but I can’t honestly convince myself that it’s been enough.”

“Enough for what Rizvi sahib?” Yasir enquired gently.

“Enough for… , “Rizvi stopped to search for words and then took a hurried gulp of the tea as Yasir waited patiently. “I’ve given all of my life to the Pakistan Army. I started as a mere lieutenant, son of an almost illiterate farmer and reached the rank of Major General, not due to my family, corruption or bootlicking. But by my hard work, competence and honesty. Well, if I were not honest, perhaps I could have reached higher or maybe even to the top spot myself. But I could never bring myself to be a slave to either my seniors in the army or their dogs in politics.

I can guarantee you that if a war breaks out today, then most of these generals with kilos of medals on their chest and stars on their shoulders will do everything but fight honourably. These Indians, Americans and even Afghans and Iranians are slapping us wherever and whenever they want. But all these politicians, soldiers and even the Pakistani awam are interested in squeezing anything they can out of this poor country. I don’t know if I should feel happy or sad retiring like this.”

“Can I ask you a few personal questions, General?” Yasir asked gently to which Rizvi nodded yes.
“You blame your comrades in army, politicians, normal citizens of the country as well as foreigners for things that are wrong with our country as well as unislamic degradation. But what gives you the right to be so critical? Outside of your job, have you done anything to change things for better yourself?” Rizvi stared at Yasir pondering over this question.

Seeing him quiet Yasir spoke further, “There have been lakhs perhaps even crores of us who’ve made huge sacrifices for Pakistan and islam. Many left their families and comfortable lives to fight, many suffered terribly, many died but stayed pious and faithful. Let me ask you, general sahib, do you count yourself in the same league as the shahids, the mujahideen and the pious jihadis?”

Yasir stopped and waited for an answer as Rizvi stared off in the distance and answered slowly, “No, I don’t think that I have done enough to be counted in the same league. “

“It’s understandable if you don’t know your failings and live your life in ignorance. But you do know your shortcomings and still do nothing to fix them?” Yasir’s usually calm voice suddenly took an edge. “All around us, you see your incompetent colleagues and politicians doing everything except serving islam and Pakistan. They make deals with our mortal enemies, sell off our lands, snatch everything from the poor to fill their own mansions and drink and fornicate and still decorate themselves with medals. Look at your Army chief. He is perhaps the richest man in the country with more houses and shops in Canada than here. Then look at his Vice Chief, owner of 5000 hectares of land in Pakistan and his underaged sons driving imported European cars. While you can barely afford to buy a house for yourself after working all your life. ”

All you can be proud of is that you were not a thief and a fake Muslim unlike other generals, air chief marshals and admirals. But search deep inside you and tell me; tell Allah and yourself, have you done enough to serve Islam and Pakistan?”

Rizvi sat quietly with the same distant stare in his eyes and then spoke slowly, “Is being a good muslim not enough?”

Yasir sighed and shook his head gently, “Don’t you know the answer yourself? If what you have done till now was enough, then why is islam facing so much humiliation, why is Pakistan almost a failed state and why are we having this conversation?”

Rizvi’s hand shook as he put the cup of tea on the table. He spoke weakly, “I am just a single man, weak and alone”

Yasir immediately switched to his soothing calm voice, “Don’t say that General sahib. You are not weak and certainly not alone. There are so many men in my congregation who will follow you to sure death if need be and I am sure there are a lot more. You yourself control the biggest weapon that ummah has. How can you call yourself weak and alone when you have such a powerful weapon and such dedicated followers?”
Rizvi was on the verge of tears and spoke with a breaking voice, “Isn’t it too late for this?”

Yasir walked up to Rizvi and patted his shoulder, “It’s never too late. Have faith in allah. He’ll guide you.”

Chapter 22

11th September 2021,19:10 Hours IST, 

New Delhi, India

PM Bisht was about to leave for his home after a long day in the office. His security detail was going over the last minute checks as he waited inside the air-conditioned office, avoiding the humid weather. There was a knock on his door and chief of security crew Abhay Nambiar entered the room along with two other Special Protection Group (SPG) special agents. He spoke quickly, “Sorry for the interruption sir, but there has been an emergency and evacuation protocols have been initiated. We need to get you to Air Force 1 as soon as possible.” 

Taken by complete surprise, the Bisht asked, “Do you know what this is about?”

Nambiar shook his head in negative, “From what I was told, it has something to do with Pakistan. Someone from Dhumal’s office will inform you on the plane or helicopter.” Bisht nodded and followed their instructions. They had practised this drill in the past and it played out just like they had planned.

The three SPG agents escorted the PM out of his office and to the waiting helicopter. He was then taken to Palam airport, where a special Boeing 777-300ER designated Air India 1 was already refuelled and waiting. Kamat arrived just a few minutes after Bisht and was escorted in after him. The plane took off soon after, escorted by two Sukhoi-30MKIs armed with jammers and air-to-air missiles. The Boeing aircraft itself was fitted with multiple self-defence systems like Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM), multiple radar spoofing and jamming systems, flare & chaff dispensation systems and extra shielding for protection against nuclear blasts and Electromagnetic Pulses (EMP).  Multiple communication systems with redundancies ensured that the plane’s occupants could stay in contact with anyone they needed to. The President and some other members of the cabinet were taken to similarly equipped Air India 2.

Dhumal was already waiting for Bisht via a teleconference screen from plane AI-1 as soon as he reached the plane’s meeting room. “What’s going on Dhumal? Is it China or Pakistan?”  

Dhumal looked tired on the teleconference screen. “We have an imminent threat from Pakistan. If China is involved, we don’t know about it yet.”

“Imminent threat! What do you mean?”

Dhumal fiddled with his tablet and sent images of Rizvi and Pano Aqil airbase to another screen in the flying meeting room. ”It seems like a Pakistani army officer from their army’s nuclear command. One Major General Qasim Rizvi has gone rogue and taken control of Pano Aqil base in Sindh. There were reports of extended firefights and explosions, but Pakistanis have cut off all phone and internet access to the area. So we have only limited information till our assets there can contact us on the radio or something else.”

Kamat was brought to AI1 abruptly just like the Bisht and he was still trying to collect his bearings. He stared at the screens and papers in his hands and muttered, “This is just great! As if Chinese and their viruses were not enough, now we have to deal with nuclear weapons under the control of these batshit crazy assholes.” He paused for a second, leafed through papers again and asked, “What are Pakistanis saying officially?

“Their Home Minister claimed on a TV channel that there was a large terrorist attack on the base by unknown terrorists with unknown motives. After that, there has been a full blackout. Most of their political administration including the Prime Minister and most of the cabinet has gone incommunicado. Most of the senior military command is supposedly hiding or gone underground too. But we have noticed large scale movement of ground forces and air assets in the area already. But no plane has been seen taking off from the Pano Aqil airbase itself.”

PM exhaled and looked at Kamat, “We need to start making preparations of our own.”

“Yes, I spoke to General Bharat Samant from the Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD) and Air Marshal Arjun Mukund from Strategic Forces Command (SFC). At this moment, it seems like their people will need to get involved before anybody else. The rest of the command will contact us as soon as there is more clarity about the situation.“ Kamat answered and then addressed NSA, “Dhumal ji, do you think that Chinese are involved in this incident?”

“I’ve been thinking about this and I can’t discount the possibility. However, we simply don’t have enough intelligence to be sure about this. Whatever we know about this Maj Gen Rizvi is not very conclusive either. I’ve sent you his file. Our intelligence marked him as competent, a bit aloof and somewhat of a devout Muslim. He had turned a bit more religious after the death of his wife, but nothing out of the ordinary. Unlike most Pakistani generals, he had the reputation of being honest, competent and upright.” 

“Knowing Pakis as well as we do, it all might just be an elaborate ruse to attack us or get more money from any of their four fathers,” Kamat responded bitterly.

“For what we know presently, it could be anything. We need to be prepared for all eventualities. Utilise all resources and get all the information possible you see fit. Our defence command and a few others need to be part of the decision making process. I want another meeting as soon as we have more information. I hope we’ll have enough data by then to make informed decisions.” Bisht spoke to end the meeting. 

20:15 Hours

Pakistan News & Information Service, Sukkur Desk 

BREAKING: Pano Aqil Aqil Military Base Under Siege

We have reports coming in from various sources that a military base in Pano Aqil is under attack by yet unknown assailants. According to civilian eyewitnesses in the city, there were multiple explosions and heavy firing in the area. A video sent by a local resident shows two helicopters at Pano Aqil airbase trying to take off and then being destroyed by heavy machine gun fire from the ground. 

Another witness reported sounds of heavy gunfire at a military facility 1.5 km from the airstrip and at least three pillars of dark smoke rising from the area. After the initial reports, authorities have initiated a full blackout of the region and blocked all kinds of civilian communications and traffic. Electricity supply to most of the city has been cut off, increasing panic among the civilian population. But people who were trying to get out of the city were sent back home by Pakistani army personnel patrolling the roads. At the same time, there were reports of unusually heavy air traffic at some nearby airports.

   Many defence analysts claim that Pano Aqil is used by Pakistani armed forces as storage for their nuclear weapons and is considered to be highly secure. Some reports suggested that the attack was planned and led by a senior officer commanding the base. One spokesperson from Sindh’s home ministry claimed that an installation in the cantonment was attacked by terrorists and the situation was under control. But everyone, including the federal government and Pakistan Army has refused to provide further details.

21:55 Hours

Skies Over Madhya Pradesh

A large screen played a video of bearded Major General Qasim Rizvi talking to the camera in his full military attire. He spoke in Urdu using a calm, measured voice.

“My name is Major General Qasim Rizvi and I have served Pakistan as an army officer for 35 years. I started as a lieutenant and worked my way to the post of Major General after decades of sacrifice and hard work. There is not a single person who can raise doubts about my integrity, honesty and loyalty to the nation and Islam. In our army, there were many others even more dedicated people than me who sacrificed everything they had for the betterment of Pakistan and the glory of Islam. But sadly, people like me are now a vanishing minority. We are punished because we care about the country more than the bank balances of our senior officers. Pakistani army and politics have become slaves of a few power-hungry and greedy elites who just use their privilege to squeeze out every single paisa from the bones of our long-suffering masses.

Most of the politicians are just a tool in hands of these corrupt armed forces officers and in most cases, even more spineless and corrupt. They’ve all abandoned Islam and Pakistan for their imported liquor, carnal pleasures, suitcases full of cash and mansions in the west. They rile up masses in name of the country, the martyrs, Kashmir, Islam and even cricket. But their only motive is to just grab as much money as possible for their lives of sin and debauchery.

I am a devout Muslim and a patriotic Pakistani. My grandfather didn’t choose to live in Pakistan just to be a servant of liars, thieves and slaves of the kafirs. I know for a fact that the majority of my countrymen share these feelings but feel powerless to take any action. 

I request such patriotic Muslims to consider me their representative and allow me and my companions here to truly liberate Pakistan and add stars to the glory of Islam. If you are watching this video, then it means that my companions have succeeded in the first phase of our campaign. We now control our own Islamic atom bombs. The weapons in our control are enough to wipe out crores of kafirs in India, Israel and their friends in a few other places. 

We really don’t want to use these weapons and cause so much suffering anywhere. If we were bloodthirsty terrorists like they’d like you to think, we’d have already fired the weapons months before. But all we want is the development of Pakistan and glory to Islam peacefully. For this purpose, we have decided upon a list of demands that each party mentioned here has to fulfil. Every single point is carefully chosen and completely non-negotiable. Non-compliance with any single order will result in us unleashing everything we have.

1. This regime led by the incompetent puppet PM Ashfaq Niazi be dismissed and replaced by a military board comprising of three selected honest officers. If this order is not fulfilled within 24 hours, then our men will arrest or neutralise all members of the Pakistani cabinet. If you think you can save yourself by increasing the security, then think again. How can you be sure that the bodyguard is not my man or the cook will not poison your breakfast?

2. All military officers mentioned in the list I’ll read out in the end, should resign of their own accord and hand over control of their commands to us. Conditions are the same as the previous point 

3. Americans need to withdraw from Afghanistan within 10 days. We want to hear this announcement of complete and unconditional withdrawal in 12 hours. We don’t care if they negotiate with “terrorists” or not. Refusal to comply will cause strikes on all their bases and Afghan allies in the region.

4. Indian forces deployed all over Jammu and Kashmir should disarm and retreat to their mainland. Muslims of the state shouldn’t be oppressed by the guns of Hindus. If this doesn’t happen in the next 72 hours, then every Indian city under our reach will turn into a pile of radioactive ashes. And trust me, I am on a very short fuse with this one.

Now, my dear countrymen, knowing you as well as I like to think I do, I know that many of you will be happy with these steps. Then there’ll be a few who think just this is not enough. You will rightly say that I should’ve demanded that Jews go back from Palestine, Americans stop their military operations not just in Afghanistan but our whole Arab lands, and there is so much more. But my dear Pakistanis, I am but a single old man and facing huge odds. That you are watching this video itself is such an improbable miracle that I have to ask you for help.

 It’s likely that I and many of my companions on this mission may not survive. But I want this holy jihad to go on with your contributions. I know not all of you can pick up guns, but I implore those who can to do so. Those who really can’t, please pressurise your politicians to do the right Islamic thing, abandon the path of unislamic debauchery and become true Muslims. Report and confront the traitors within us. If we all work together, then we’ll see Pakistan at its rightful position as the head of worldwide Dar’ul Islam.

Allah Hafiz.”

Bisht rubbed his eyes tiredly and looked at the video conferencing screen. There were expressions of confusion on the faces of all the people. He took a sip of water and asked, “So, what do we know? Any ideas?”

Dhumal spoke first, “From what we know, Pakistanis have stored six to eight nuclear-tipped Nasr missiles on three to four launch vehicles with a range of 50-70 km and 400 kg payload in Pano Aqil base. Its nuclear warheads are low yield type, 0.5 to maximum 5 kilotons. Pakistani doctrine envisages their use against our massed land troops in a Cold Start type attack. If fired from Pano Aqil base, it’ll not even cross the border. Its major threat is its radiation rather than the yield. Missile’s size is so small that Pakistanis need to pack a lot more than usual Plutonium to have nuclear fission. 

Then there are between five to eight Ghauri (Hatf 5) ballistic missiles with a claimed range between 700 to 1200 km depending upon the warhead size, which can be between 700 and 1200 kg. The yield of these nuclear warheads can be 35-40 kilotons. We are not sure how many of the missiles are armed with nuclear warheads, but even a conventional warhead on our bigger cities will cause thousands of deaths. A single 35 kt bomb on New Delhi or even smaller cities like Chandigarh will kill lakhs.

Ghauri is a copy of North Korean No Dong 1 while Nasr is based on Chinese WS-2 multiple launch rocket system. We don’t have to worry about Nasr right now, but it is possible in theory that its smaller warheads can be mated with Ghauri missiles. We don’t know if it’ll work in real life or not, but our plan of action assumes that it will.”

He then paused to take a breathe and started again, “We have been trying to get in touch with Pakistani authorities through all available channels. Their Prime Minister’s office says that it’s Pakistan’s internal matter and that they’re in control. He himself refuses to talk to us claiming that it’s to comply with safety regulations. Lt General Hafiz of I Corps virtually threatened that he couldn’t control his subordinates if we even considered taking military action. Their army chief refused to even take our call and has made three calls to China already. Even the US defence secretary couldn’t get him to comply with his demands. So we have two options now. Either we wait and trust that Pakistanis will sort out this problem themselves or we take some action ourselves.”

Our intelligence sources on the ground reported sounds of more gunfire just 20 minutes back. So I don’t think that they are in control and it’s highly unlikely that they’d allow us to do anything in their territory.” 

“So it means that they’re trying to take back control of the nuclear weapons, right?” Bisht asked in a hopeful tone. 

“After what Hafiz said on the phone, I am not sure about what is going on in their minds. Maybe they’re sincerely trying to neutralise Rizvi, but going by their mentality I can’t help but fear that they can use this confusion to launch a few missiles at us and claim that it was done by so-called non-state actors.”

Chief of the Army Staff General Gopal Gurunath spoke next, “Our intelligence suggests that the Pakistani military is rushing a large number of soldiers to Pano Aqil and has enforced a no-fly zone over the entire country. Also, the statements through their official channels are very confusing. They don’t want any intervention by any foreign power and are claiming that they can handle the situation themselves. If we can get them to cooperate, then neutralising Maj Gen Rizvi and his bunch of lunatics shouldn’t be that difficult. But this high level of alert, their opposition to foreign intervention and involvement of Americans and conditions on Chinese border complicates the situation.“   

Bisht nodded and asked, “Any update from AFSOD yet? Do they have everything for the mission?”

CDS Sharma spoke from his station at AF2, “Special Operations teams are on standby and ready to move in as soon as an assault plan is approved. Air Force is almost done preparing flights for air cover and Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD). Pakistanis seem adamant about keeping us out at all costs. So the first phase will involve SEAD and precision air and missile strikes using conventional warheads. Then the ground assault troops will do a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) insertion right in Paro Aqil to destroy the remaining missiles and personnel.“

SEAD operations in a full-scale war involve destruction or at least temporary disabling of enemy air defence systems like Surface To Air Missiles (SAMs), radars, AWACS, air defence guns, command, communications and control facilities. The most common types of SEAD operations involve the destruction of enemy radars, communication facilities and other systems using Anti Radiation Missiles (ARM). These missiles can track electromagnetic emissions from a wide variety of sources and guide themselves to the target.

Dedicated Electronic Warfare (EW) aircraft or normal aircraft equipped with EW pods can temporarily disable enemy defence systems by jamming and spoofing their communications, radars and targeting systems. There are a few other ways of SEAD too like laying out a relatively safe corridor for the strike force by use of large chaff clouds, dedicated missions against AD systems using conventional bombs and so on. 

HALO is a way to deploy paratroopers in enemy territory by having them jump out of the aeroplane at high altitudes and opening their parachutes at low altitudes, usually around 1000 m. This type of approach is accurate, stealthy and helps evade visual detection or by radar. Another approach is High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) which is less stealthy but the person can travel for nearly 60 km after the jump. 

“What about extraction of our ground units?” Bisht asked.

“There is an airstrip within 2 km of our main target area which can be used by our C-130s. If we are unable to secure that, we have some Dhruv and Mi-17 helicopters standing by as the backup plan.” 

“Will it work?”

“It’ll have to, one way or another.” 

Air Chief Marshal Laxman Mathur spoke next, “We have made battle plans for situations like this before. We can destroy most of that base within 6-7 hours.”

“What will be the guarantee that the nuclear weapons stored there will be destroyed by your strikes?” 

“In a joint air and ground mission, chances of success are fairly good. Our air and missile strikes can make sure that everything related to missile launch infrastructure will either be destroyed or made unusable for a few days at least. We’ll need boots on the ground to be doubly sure.”

“What about casualties on our side?”

“We are expecting a few losses.” ACM Mathur answered simply. 

There was a momentary pause as people in the meeting pondered over the odds of ground troops and pilots surviving the mission. Travelling over 100 km over the heavily fortified region back to the safety of the Indian border would be as difficult a task as getting in.

“If we do this, then what stops Pakistanis from using it as an excuse for declaring war? We can’t really hope to inform them before assault asking for cooperation. They’ll most likely inform the terrorists themselves even if they’re not doing anything themselves.” Kamat asked no one in particular. 

ACM answered, “We can’t really wait for or trust their word that the nukes are safe. Although they’ve never made it public, it’s common knowledge that even division commanders have nuclear authorisation in Pakistan. We have to assume that Rizvi and perhaps one or more officers working with him have the launch codes. Our country is under imminent threat of nuclear attack and we have to take every possible action to defend ourselves. There is no need to ask for permission from any other external party. This incident has shown that Pakistani military and political leadership is incapable of even basic nuclear safety measures. Ideally, this room should have been discussing the full neutralisation of all Pakistani nuclear assets all over the country. Not just this one small site.”

“You’re right, ideally we should be considering full denuclearisation of Pakistan. Home Minister spoke in support of ACM. “But there’s a lot going on including tension with the Chinese. All this could also be a ploy to divert our attention from some other mischief or even provoke us into an attack and cry victim.”

Dhumal shook his head, “Pardon me for interrupting, I am not disagreeing with you. But I need to point out that all available evidence makes it seem that it’s a genuine crisis. There has been bloody combat, our operatives have seen injured and dead Pakistanis and there are eyewitness accounts of the Pakistani PM and 2-3 other ministers rushing out of their houses escorted by armed guards. Then you saw the video of Major General Qasim yourself. The chances of it being a false flag operation are very low. Apart from that, there is a bigger risk of loss if we treat it as one.”

“And it doesn’t need saying that Rizvi took control of Pano Akil with the full support of many serving personnel of Pakistani army. There has been a mutiny and there’s no way to know which faction of their army is fighting for what purpose. For all that we know, all are hostile to us.“ Kamat added his input.

“Will we need to divert any resources deployed in any other sector to Pano Aqil? Anything about Chinese?” Bisht interrupted the increasingly hypothetical discussion. 

Sharma shook his head, “Presently we don’t need to do anything like that. I have a gut feeling that the Chinese will try to take advantage of this situation. We should not divert attention from them no matter what happens in Pakistan.”

Kamat got a notification on his secure tablet. He read it and whispered something to the PM. They talked in hushed voices for a minute and then the PM addressed the participants, “We have an incoming call from American Defence Secretary. We’ll resume this meeting again in 20 minutes.”

A few Minutes Later

PM walked into the meeting room with Kamat following closely behind with a tense look on his face. He sipped some water from a glass and addressed the room, “You might have learned about the Chinese threat by now, right?”

The already tense situation was made more complicated after a message from the Chinese embassy to the US. As was expected, they were trying their best to prevent any invasion of Pakistan by either US or India and the Chinese ambassador had presented a personal message from his president to this effect. In a thinly veiled threat, the Chinese ambassador had warned that the PLA will aid Pakistan in repelling any attack and that any aggression at one front may be countered with another front at a time and place of their own choosing. 

“Yes, but we are not taking it seriously, are we? Dhumal spoke while trying to read the expressions of both Bisht and Kamat, “We face an imminent nuclear threat and we have the right to defend ourselves. Rizvi could be acting under orders from the Chinese for all that we know.”

 “That thought crossed my mind too and that is why we’re going ahead with the original plan, whether China likes it or not.” Bisht spoke firmly and paused before looking around the room. “Any objections?”

“None, sir. Do we have anything to worry about from Americans?” Sharma asked.

Kamat allowed himself a tight smile, “No, they are actually pissed with both the iron brothers and wanted our help to stage a retrieval mission of their own. But their own assault teams are at least 8-10 hours away, so they have some forces deployed in Afghanistan and Oman that can assist us. But the question is General, do we need or want their help?” 

Sharma exhaled audibly and pondered over the question for a moment before answering, “Well, our assault is about to start in a few hours and I will not object if some of the Pakistani forces, especially their air force can be tied up someplace away as we send in our men. Have they shared a list or any information about what they can deploy?”

“Yes, they are waiting for our call as we speak. Can you assign someone to liaise with Americans on this matter? You may need to change your attack plan a bit accordingly.” Bisht answered  

General Sharma, I need you to assign a high-ranking team to work with Americans right now and prepare an attack plan accordingly. I am assuming that it will free up some of our resources to finish some of our other objectives related to the current situation, right? “

Chapter 23

12 September 2021, 00:05 Hours IST

Somewhere in Rajasthan

Brigadier Ashok Jasrotia from AFSOD was briefing the special operations team. 

“The good news is that a Pakistani F-16 shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper UAV which was flown in from Kandhar for reconnaissance. The better part is that Americans had informed Pakistanis beforehand and they still went ahead and destroyed the drone using an American supplied F-16 fighter. Ironic, isn’t it? And the best part is that we’re going to take some nuclear toys away from Pakis.

Now Americans don’t want to play nice with Pakistanis and are launching everything they can to take care of Pano Aqil. Like us, they have made plans for emergencies like these and are now seeking our cooperation with this. But they can’t mount any kind of reasonably good assault for 7-8 hours. So they will be assisting us. Command thinks that it’s a good idea and our mission is to destroy all nuclear warheads and missiles in the Pano Aqil bunkers. The plan is to hit Pakis from as many sides as possible and be quick about it before they realise what’s going on. 

Now, we are hoping to avoid any hostile engagement with Pakistani troops. We are still trying to get them to let us in and do a joint operation instead of this raid. But they’re acting stubbornly. If we are lucky, they may see sense and agree. But if they don’t, which I think is more likely, they are to be considered hostile and treated as such. All except a handful of Rizvi’s supporters are believed to be serving military personnel. So we can’t expect our troops on the ground to waste time deciding their motives and loyalties. If you can safely capture him or a handful of his men who can be extracted safely, you are to do that. If that’s not possible, then just shoot them.

Now for the fun details. Even with withdrawal from Afghanistan going on, Americans still have some good air assets deployed there and some in Masirah, Oman and Al Dhafra, UAE. They’re deploying two P3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, 2 Prowlers and 1 E-3C Sentry AWACS for electronic warfare, reconnaissance, early warning and air traffic control They also have ten to twelve F-16 based in Afghanistan that can join the fight. Additionally, they have a few armed MQ-9B drones for reconnaissance and air-to-ground strikes.

 That’s not all, fortunately. They are also open to firing a few Tomahawk cruise missiles from one of their nuclear submarines lurking somewhere in the Arabian sea. If some of you don’t know about the equipment I just listed, don’t worry too much. In case you are curious, it suffices to know that Americans can help with confusing Pakistani surveillance and communications systems and can destroy a few targets for us. Their fighters can also keep some Paki squadrons and ground units busy. 

The attack will begin with Americans jamming Paki radar and communications networks using cyber attacks and their airborne EW assets en route. American Global Positioning System has been blocked for everyone else but Americans and its equivalent Chinese BeiDuo system will go offline pretty soon over Pakistan too. It’ll not affect us, as we will be using our own NaviC system. Once the jamming begins we’ll be firing a few Brahmos and Nirbhay cruise missiles on the Paki air defence radars, anti-air guns and SAM systems to clear a path for our ground assault team. 

At about the same time, American fighters will start aggressive manoeuvres in their coastal areas and in Peshawar, Swat area trying to keep their air force away from us. A Chinese naval ship and a few suspicious freighters are already docked in Gwadar, so this may prove to be a bit interesting.

Even as we speak, our intelligence people are confirming the latest enemy positions using satellites and feeding the data to missile batteries. American Tomahawks will be used for disabling a few key radar sites near coastal areas, a few points up north from there and possible points of resistance at Pano Aqil.  We are pretty sure that the initial missile strikes will damage the runways in a few PAF bases long enough to keep Paki fighters on ground. Americans are planning to use their fighters to destroy Pakistani Karakoram Eagle and Erieye AWACS if they manage to get in the air. Our flyboys in Jaguars will drop a few tons of ordinance in Pano Aqil after the initial missile attack to mop up or at least soften up resistance against the ground assault.  The C-130 transport plane carrying the ground assault team will take off from Jaisalmer as soon as the Jaguars are in the air. The paratroopers will exit the aircraft around using HALO and destroy or capture the nukes.

We have one deep cover asset near the mission area who is well trained in special operations himself. We will patch his communication line to the Alpha Team a few minutes before the paradrop. We hope that he may be able to recommend good landing spots away from enemy interference. If not, you’ll land at the original site. Once you meet up, he will act as your guide on the ground. You will have to bring him back, as his cover will be blown after this.  

Once on the ground, you can call in air and missile strikes at will to neutralise the remaining resistance. Four Apaches helicopters will follow you for Close Air Support (CAS). Two Mi-25 Hinds are also being rushed in for additional support. Alpha teams will attack the missile storage compound and take care of the nukes which may have escaped destruction in missiles & airstrikes. Bravo will secure the airstrip for landing of C-130. If the airstrip is not secure, then helicopters will be sent for exfiltration. We can use Mi-25s for exfil in case it’s required. 

 Remember, your primary mission is to either destroy or get the nukes and their delivery vehicles out of the control of Rizvi. They’re suicidal enough to launch them if they think that they’re losing. We are assuming that the Ghauri missiles are fueled already and ready to be launched. Our recon assets are monitoring the bunker and adjoining areas. If a missile is spotted, then assume that it’s about to be launched. Destroy them before it happens or mark the target for an aerial attack. 

If nothing changes, the C-130 will take flight at 01:25 hours.

Now, I am open to questions.”

Few hours later

Pano Aqil

Paratroopers jumping from the C-130 transport plane could see the flashes of many small and a few large fires all over their target area. The passive night vision devices amplified every bit of light and put a gray and green tint to everything. As promised by Brigadier Jasrotia, nearly all the anti-air assets of the base had been destroyed by missile strikes and bombing raids by Jaguar deep penetration aircraft. As they got closer to the ground, they could see pillars of dark smoke rising from many places. 

There had been no contact from the undercover operative. It had been realised quite late that his radio might be affected by the massive jamming of all radio communications by Indian as well as American EW assets. Someone had forgotten to tell him the updated frequencies and codes and he was without a way to contact them. But that couldn’t be helped now. If they were lucky, he would be able to find them after their landing. Otherwise, the mission was supposed to go on without his involvement. As the paratroopers reached an altitude of around 1000m, they deployed their parachutes. The sudden deceleration jerked their bodies strongly and slowed down the descent.  

As they got closer to the ground, they could hear the sounds of sporadic gunfire and minor explosions not too far from the main landing area. All soldiers had landed within a 500 m circle and rallied quickly. Two sections of 10 men each of Bravo teams went towards the south-east to secure the airstrip while the rest went northwards to the missile complex.

Pano Aqil Missile Compound

Alpha team was divided into four sections of 10 men each with the rest five on guard and comms duty. The compact handheld consoles in the hands of each section leader marked the positions of every man superimposed on a tactical map of the area with a blue marker. It was a bit like some video games, but real. 

Alpha 1 team approached the missile launch complex from its southern perimeter. A soldier opened up a hard plastic case he was carrying on his back and took out a small winged drone with an unfolded wingspan of 1.2 meters. He turned on its nearly silent electric motor and threw it in the air like a paper plane. It got to an altitude of around 100 meters and started beaming the video feed to a small video console in the backpack and handheld consoles of all section leaders.

Even with its monochrome night vision feed, they could see large holes on roofs of all 9 super reinforced concrete bunkers. All of them had suffered multiple hits and all the roofs had caved in. Even the concrete around the bunkers was all torn up with more holes than the original surface. Many small and a few bigger fires raged all over the compound with acrid smoke billowing upwards in the sky. There were bodies everywhere in the compound as well around it. 

Tens of tanks and armoured vehicles lay motionless all around the site. Most had been blown to the smithereens and a few had dead bodies hanging out of the hatches. Alpha 1 leader thanked the makers of CBU-105 cluster bombs. Multiple such bombs, each with 10 infrared guided sub-munitions had been dropped on site disabling most of the armoured vehicles brought in by the Pakistani army as well as a few controlled by Rizvi’s troops inside the compound.

Indian troops moved cautiously forward while scanning the surrounding area with their night vision sights. Suddenly there was a whooshing sound and a mortar round landed around 150 meters north of them. Then there were three more in quick succession. All four rounds fired were smoke rounds meant to hide the movement of their troops from the enemy. The drone went a bit higher and scanned the area around it with its thermal scanners. It detected thermal signatures matching the just fired mortar tube with four human sized targets around it.

The lead Alpha team was taking cover when a Pakistani Cobra gunship came flying in murderously low and fired a few rockets at their position. A rifleman and the machine gunner were killed almost instantaneously and three others received shrapnel injuries. The helicopter had seemingly gotten a second team in its sights and was turning to attack when a Stinger air-to-air missile fired from an Apache hit it. Cobra lost all engine power immediately and dropped to the ground in a shower of flames and smoke. 

 Another Apache acquired the target coordinates from UAV and fired 70 mm Hydra rockets at the mortar position. The spot from where mortars were being fired erupted in a small cloud of smoke and dust. Apaches did a scan of the area with their own more powerful thermal scanners and moved a bit further to find a convoy of two Al Khalid tanks and four Talha armoured personnel carriers (copy of American M113) racing towards their direction around two kms away. 

The targeting computer of Apaches assigned one Hellfire missile to each of the vehicles automatically and pilots saw the notification in their targeting monocle. Six Hellfires left their launchers on the Apaches and hit all six vehicles on their roofs in top attack mode. All four APCs were blown to bits with their parts spread in circles all around them. The heavily armoured tanks didn’t blow up like the thinly armoured APCs but their top armour was not strong enough to withstand the High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT) warhead of Hellfires either. Armour of both tanks was penetrated and the ammunition box of the one in lead caught fire, causing the stored rounds to explode inside the tank. There were jets of fire shooting from the turret and a loud explosion causing the turret to separate from the chassis and soar 6-7 meters up in the air before landing in a ditch on the side.

Imminent threats neutralised, Apaches then moved back to take positions around the complex to provide reconnaissance and air cover to advancing Alpha teams. The 3.5 meter tall concrete wall had shattered to the ground during the aerial attack and two sections passed it easily to enter the compound. Apart from the downwash of Apaches, nothing or nobody was moving. A few trees lay uprooted accompanied by a few dead crows. 

One of the injured soldiers of Alpha 1 team had his leg almost blown off and was screaming in agony. The team leader had also been hit by shrapnel in the back and was barely unconscious. The second in charge assumed command and called for medical evacuation.

The first attack on bunkers had been done by supersonic cruise missile Brahmos. Two missiles had been allocated to each bunker and none had missed. They had flown only tens of meters above the ground after launch, till they reached the target area. Then they had suddenly gained altitude and dived on their respective targets at 90 degrees angles. The March 3 diving speed of the missile along with a special bunker buster warhead had bored thick holes into the six feet thick reinforced concrete roofs. The warheads had then passed the roofs and then hit the floor forming the roof of the actual missile storage room below. Some of them had penetrated the second layer too and exploded, causing instant destruction of everything present. Even those warheads which had not completely penetrated the second layer had exploded inside it causing large pieces from the shattered layer to bury everything below. Then a half squadron of Jaguars had dropped one bunker busting Sudarshan laser-guided bombs (LGB) weighing 450 kgs on each target.  

A few soldiers put on their closed loop respirators and went close for a look. The respirators would prevent inhalation of any radioactive particles and toxic fumes of missile propellant. Most of the highly volatile missile fuel had caught fire after the hits and many sections of the storage site were still burning furiously. The team deployed another drone equipped with sensors to detect any radioactive material or leakage and presence of missile propellants in the air (Kerosene, HNO3 (Nitric Acid) and N2O4 (Nitrogen Dioxide)). The drones were specially designed to operate in sites of radioactive and chemical leaks in industrial sites and nuclear reactors by a private company. They were modified for military use by adding a few more sensors, shielding and a bigger power pack. 

Significant amounts of propellants and trace amounts of Uranium-235, the main fission component of Ghauri warheads were detected confirming the destruction of at least six missiles in the compound. Only three seriously wounded survivors were found and none of them were in any condition to talk. Since the Alpha already had multiple casualties of their own and more Pakistani reinforcements were imminent, they decided against capturing them. 

They confirmed the destruction of all missiles in the complex as fast as they could and collected samples from each bunker. When the job was finished, the Alpha team started marching towards the airstrip. 

As they started the march, the Apaches reported movement of a motorcycle in their direction and the fact that it was switching on and off its headlights. The pattern was recognised as a basic code assigned to the undercover operative who had missed the party but had done a great job by providing precise positions of Pakistani air defence positions. He drove the stolen motorcycle to Alpha 1 section leader and confirmed his identity. He had been using a cover name, Mohammed Gulfam for less than one year, but it felt strange to use the name with his countrymen. His original identity as Naib Subedar Anil Dahiya, formerly belonging to Para SF was supposed to stay secret even with the Indian soldiers. 

Alpha 2 commander looked at him from head to toe and remarked sarcastically, “Took you long enough. We’re almost finished now and moving to exfil point.”

Dahiya reached into his pockets to show a remote detonator, “You should have not jammed all the radio frequencies then. Anyhow, if I had not blown up two bridges before your landing, then you’d have been busy fighting off three mechanised companies of Pakis.”

The soldier scoffed and patted his shoulder. “Good job, I guess. Now let’s head out.”


The defensive structures around the airstrip had been bombed using precision-guided munitions by Jaguars minutes before the paradrop. The soldiers could see the fire and smoke rising from rubbles of a few checkpoints, anti-aircraft guns and watchtowers. In a normal attack, the airstrip would have been the primary target and be full of craters to make it unusable for enemy aircraft. But since they needed the airstrip for their exfiltration, precision-guided bombs were used to destroy enemy positions without causing any damage to the airstrip. 

Two soldiers used their handheld thermal scanners to carefully check their surroundings. There was nothing left of the base infrastructure apart from a few piles of twisted metal, shattered concrete and smoke. Like the missile compound, there were a few dead soldiers and around a dozen destroyed armoured vehicles lying around in different places. Few parts of the wreckage of a Pakistani Bell-206 helicopter, presumably used for VIP transport smouldered only a few meters away from the airstrip with a few badly burnt bodies scattered around it.

A radio signal was given and the second section of two Apache helicopters came rushing towards their direction, flying barely 20 meters above the ground. All four Apaches had taken off with a payload of 8 Hellfire missiles and 38 Hydra 70 mm rockets. Some soldiers who were close enough noticed that only 3 missiles remained on one of the helicopters. They had to fight their way in even with the massive ordnance drop earlier.

Bravo team formed a perimeter around the strip after ensuring that there were no hostiles in the vicinity.  4 men from the team moved towards the only fortified structure, a single story bunker on the airbase. Two Sudarshan bombs had torn through the thick concrete roof and exploded inside, turning it into still smoking rubble of reinforced concrete and steel beams. One soldier took out a Geiger counter and checked its readings from a distance. There was a large piece of concrete a few meters from it and when the Geiger counter was brought near it, it indicated the presence of alpha particles and plutonium. 

The soldiers stopped their advance towards the bunkers and took a few samples of the soil and concrete pieces. Then they rejoined the security perimeter with the rest of Bravo team and a call for exfiltration was placed. 

The mission controller asked them to wait for a minute and then replied, “Negative Bravo. We are detecting three enemy fighters heading towards your position. Disperse and take defensive positions. Exfil is not possible till the aerial threat is neutralised.”

“So what do we do then?” Bravo commander asked with exasperation in his voice.

“Stay low and wait for the skies to be clear.”

The dark sky above them reverberated with thunder as six Indian Sukhoi-30s crossed the border to engage incoming Pakistani jets head-on. The Pakistani ground based air defence system, including ground-based radars and surface-to-air missile batteries were either destroyed or jammed, so they had no situational awareness.  They had launched their three JF-17s from Jacobabad airbase after one of four jets assigned for ground support and air cover to the Pakistani army’s assault on Pano Aqil had reported an unknown contact flying close to the border. It was the last bit of communication and even that was lost after electronic jamming got stronger. Two of the JF-17s had landed back safely on the airbase while the other two did not. Pakistanis didn’t know at that time that the two aircraft which had moved to investigate the unidentified aircraft was shot down by Indian Sukhois providing air cover to infiltrating C-130. 

 Targeting information to Sukhois was provided by the Phalcon AWACS flying a few km west of Jaisalmer so they did not need to turn on their radars. Worth USD 500 million each, two airborne radar and control systems had joined the IAF fleet only two months back, taking the fleet strength to five. The giant plane itself was escorted by two fighter jets and stayed 200 km behind, operating from a relatively safe distance. Bigger and somewhat more capable than NETRA, it provided a real-time picture of battle space with positions and bearings all the friendly and enemy assets within its radar range of around 400km. Its radars, EW suite, communication links enabled its crew to have complete situational awareness, provide battle management capability and early warning of the approach of enemy forces. It could also guide certain types of anti-aircraft missiles to their targets via its radar. It enabled certain AA missiles to be fired from a fighter jet without them having to switch on their radars and increasing the surprise factor for the enemy. 

Six long ranged R-77 air-to-air missiles were launched from a distance of 65 km with no warning available to the Pakistani pilots. They only realised that something was wrong when their radar warning receiver (RWR) started beeping loudly warning of an active radar lock of R-77 as they got closer. By then, it was too late for the Pakistanis and all three JF-17s went down in flames. 

A few minutes later, a C-130 flew in low firing chaff and flares as it landed on Pano Aqil airstrip. It was time to go home.

Next Day

16:30 Hours IST.  NTRO, Pune

“So, what do we know so far?”

“It has been pretty interesting, to say the least. I am reading aloud a list of what we know for sure so far.  American reports say that they damaged or destroyed multiple aircraft which include three F-7s and two JF-17s at Peshawar, four F-7s near Quetta and at least two F-16s at Jacobabad. Additionally, they claim to have seriously damaged Saab Erieye on patrol near Rawalpindi. Some geniuses from the area have already uploaded the pictures of these two planes claiming that those are wreckages of Indian planes. 

Our air force is claiming that they downed five JF-17s near Pano Aqil, most likely based in Jacobabad and two Mirage-III or V roughly 40 KM south from there. Then there are three or four helicopters, two JL-8 trainers, two C-130 and three more yet unidentified wrecks on some of the airbases we hit.“ The NTRO analyst barely took a breath while talking excitedly.

The other analyst whistled, ”That’s a lot of damage for one night! How sure are you about this?”

“Pretty sure!” He laughed excitedly and continued, “Seems like Pakistanis tried to attack some more American planes in Afghanistan after shooting down their drone. It pissed them off so much that their commander sanctioned shooting down any Pakistani plane that took to the sky near their Area of Operations (AOR).”

“They did??”

“Yeah, and they have supposedly downed a few more on the ground too. We haven’t received detailed information from them yet.”

“Don’t count on getting it anytime soon. Do we have any information or informed guesses of our own about that?”

“It is all so chaotic and there’s so much information from so many sources. We haven’t been able to process even the CartoSat data yet. So there may still be more to come. But we can assume at least 8-14 more damaged or destroyed planes on the ground, perhaps more when we analyse pictures of shelters that were hit. Some important radars and SAM systems were also targeted in a few locations like Sargodha. Someone here is going through the latest RISAT (Radar Imaging Satellite) data for more details.“

Indian expertise in satellites is perhaps not as advanced as a few other countries like the USA, Russia but it is fair to say that it is quite substantial. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had launched several dedicated spy satellites and those with dual use in the last few years. The real capabilities of many of these satellites are usually kept confidential, but some sources provide a glimpse into this secretive field. For example, CartoSat series of satellites is said to have an optical resolution of 80 cm, but some people believe it to be much higher. RISAT, another spy satellite that is listed as an earth observation satellite for disaster management during floods, cyclones etc is a high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar technology based satellite that can see through all sorts of cloud cover to the ground in all kinds of weather. 

Additionally, there are a handful of geo-stationary satellites meant for secure communications for each of three services and a few very specialised satellites like EMISAT which is used for space based electronic intelligence gathering. Services of these satellites are utilised by military and intelligence agencies and there are some deliberate ambiguities about their exact roles.

“Hmm. And most of these aircraft were either flying or were in the open, right?

“Yes, I think that all aircraft apart from a few Mirage-III and F-7s were in flying condition. It’s not exactly a crippling blow, but it sure is very painful. With their economy, it’ll take them years to make up for the losses. Their F-16 fleet is not likely to get much support or spares from Americans for quite some time after this.”

“Let’s hope so. Send me the data after you finish. Dhumal sahib has called twice already.”

“I’ll send it In an hour.”

Defence Review Blog

23rd May 2021, 23:00 Hours IST

Unprecedented joint operation by Indian and American forces to defuse nuclear threat

More stunning details about the daring raid on the Pakistani nuclear weapons storage site in Pano Aqil have started to trickle in from various sources. Readers of this blog already know about the nuclear threat raised by a rogue Pakistani Major General Qasim Rizvi who was a senior officer in charge of the nuclear facility. He, along with a still unknown number of followers, had taken control of at least 6 nuclear tipped Ghauri and 7-8 Nasr missiles with ranges 1200 km and 50-70 km, respectively. The warheads on Ghauri used Uranium-235 and had a blast yield of around 35-50 KT, enough to destroy everything within a 2-2.5 km radius. Nasr warhead is meant for tactical uses on a battlefield against the advancing enemy columns. If successfully detonated, its Plutonium based warhead is claimed to have a yield between 0.5 to 5 kt with a destruction radius of a few 100 meters to 1 km.

Rizvi had demanded a complete withdrawal of Indian forces from Jammu & Kashmir, removal of American bases from Afghanistan and handing over control of Pakistan to a small committee of people chosen by him. It is reported that Pakistani authorities had refused all offers of help by NATO and India and had even shot down an American drone sent in for reconnaissance. 

A joint raid was then executed by Indian and American forces, which then destroyed most of Pano Aqil’s military facilities. It’s being reported that Indian forces had fired 35-40 cruise missiles and sent a whole Jaguar squadron to pummel the base. The role played by US forces has not been disclosed yet. But some defence experts have speculated that one squadron each of F-16 and F-18 deployed in Afghanistan and Oman respectively could have been used along with support elements like AWACS, refuelers and Prowler EW aircraft along with some naval vessels. 

Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Sattar dismissed most of these claims in a press conference in Islamabad, claiming that Pakistani special forces had brought the whole situation under control long before the aforementioned raid happened. He further claimed that Pano Aqil had only four Nasr missiles of which only two were armed with nuclear warheads. He condemned the Indo-American joint operation, calling it an assault on the sovereignty of Pakistan and the Islamic brotherhood. Twitter account of Pakistan armed forces published a picture of two Nasr launchers which they claimed were recovered from the Pano Aqil nuclear bunkers..

Few other defence analysts on Twitter including AlNihiro and PennyDosa have claimed that the Indian Air Force hit four other Pakistan Air Force bases in Sargodha, Sukkur, Peshawar and Chabbar. The exact damage to Pakistani defence infrastructure has not been confirmed by official resources. But Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) suggests that there has been considerable damage to Pakistani airbases in multiple sectors. Some local Pakistani accounts have uploaded pictures of what seems to be the wreckage of Chinese built EriEye AWACS and of Chinese built JF-17 or American built F-16 multi-role fighters. A lot of local news channels had reported sounds of loud explosions and fires in the four airbases mentioned but a PAF spokesman dismissed it as mere fiction.  

It’s being reported by many Pakistani news sources that most of the Pakistani internet and communications had stopped working a few hours after the release of a video by General Rizvi. As the connectivity is being restored, more images and videos from ground zero are coming online confirming some claims made by the above mentioned experts. 

China has criticised this unilateral military action, calling it an unwanted assault on sovereignty of a close ally and vowed to take strong actions. It is being reported that China is preparing to transfer certain military hardware like radars, SAMs and perhaps even fighter jets to make up for the losses sustained by Pakistani forces.

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