Pakistani F-16 Pilot Who Responded To Balakot Air Strikes Killed In Crash Near Islamabad

An F-16 fighter jet of to the Pakistan Air Force crashed in Islamabad on Wednesday while carrying out rehearsals for the country’s Republic Day parade killing the pilot on-spot. The US-developed jet crashed in a jungle near Shakarparian area of the capital, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said in a statement.

The F-16 serves as the premier air defence fighter in the PAF and the first batch was acquired in the 1980s. The air force operates multiple versions of the aircraft, with the Block 52s being the most modern. PAF’s F-16 fleet has undergone multiple upgrades and remains a potent and lethal force to counter a peer adversary.

The plane was carrying out routine exercises for the Pakistan Day parade when it crashed, it said, adding that the PAF has ordered an inquiry into the cause of the crash.

The PAF statement added that rescue teams were dispatched towards the site of the crash and Air Headquarters has ordered a board of inquiry has been established to determine the cause of the incident.

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“Wing Commander Nauman Akram was killed in the crash,” an air force spokesman told Reuters. He was the only pilot in the aircraft, the spokesman added. Wing Commander Noman Akram was the Commanding Officer of Sargodha-based 9 Squadron, which participated in Pakistan’s response to the Balakot airstrikes launched by the Indian Air Force.

Noman’s squadron had taken part in the PAF operation Swift Retort on 27 February, a day after the Indian Air Force conducted the Balakot airstrikes against a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Balakot, Pakistan.

Noman Akram’s name is reportedly not mentioned on the memorial erected by the PAF to commemorate the Swift Retort operation. It mentions two namesakes, including Wing Commander Noman Ali Khan, who has been recognised with shooting down the MiG-21 Bison flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan.

Pakistan Resolution Day, also known as Republic Day commemorates the Lahore Resolution passed on March 23, 1940, and the adoption of the first Constitution of Pakistan. The annual military and cultural parade is organised in Islamabad to commemorate the demand for a separate homeland for Indian Muslims which was made through the resolution passed by the All India Muslim League in Lahore.

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