Report of a former Pakistani diplomat Agha Zafar Hilaly admitting to India killing nearly 300 terrorists in the Balakot airstrike on February 26, 2019 has turned out to be false. News agency Asian News International (ANI) had quoted Hilaly as saying during a Pakistani TV show that hundreds of terrorists were killed in the Indian Air Force (IAF) strike. The news, on the basis of information shared by ANI, was put out by several media outlets. However, fact check of the statement by the former diplomat confirmed that it was wrongly attributed to him.
"India crossed the international border and did an act of war in which at least 300 were reported dead. Our target was different from theirs. We targeted their high command. That was our legitimate target because they are men of the military. We subconsciously accepted that a surgical strike — a limited action — did not result in any casualty. Now we have subconsciously told them that, whatever they will do, we'll do only that much and won't escalate," ANI had quoted Agha Zafar Hilaly, as saying in the report.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had carried out the airstrike in Balakot, training camps of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and other terror groups. The airstrike was conducted after the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were martyred. JeM had claimed responsibility of the attack.