High-resolution satellite images show that a religious school run by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in northeastern Pakistan appears to be still standing days after India claimed its warplanes had hit the Islamist group’s training camp on the site and killed a large number of militants.
The images produced by Planet Labs Inc, a San Francisco-based private satellite operator, and reviewed by Reuters news agency, show at least six buildings on the madrasa site on March 4, six days after the airstrike.
Until now, no high-resolution satellite images were publicly available. But the images, which show details as small as 72 cm (28 inches), offer a clearer look at the structures the Indian government said it attacked.
The image is virtually unchanged from an April 2018 satellite photo of the facility. There are no discernible holes in the roofs of buildings, no signs of scorching, blown-out walls, displaced trees around the madrasa or other signs of an aerial attack.
A satellite image shows a madrasa near Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, March 4.
Pakistan said on Tuesday it had begun a crackdown on Islamist militant groups, detaining 44 members of banned organizations including close relatives of the leader of a group blamed for a deadly bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir last month.
The interior ministry said it was a move to “speed up action against all proscribed organizations”. Officials said it was part of a long-planned drive against militant groups, not a response to Indian anger over what New Delhi calls Islamabad’s failure to rein in militant groups operating on Pakistani soil.
Pakistan is facing pressure from global powers to act against groups carrying out attacks in India, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the Feb. 14 attack that killed at least 40 paramilitary police.
The incident led to the most serious conflict in years between the nuclear-armed neighbours, with cross-border air strikes and a brief dogfight over the skies of Kashmir. Tension cooled when Pakistan returned a downed Indian pilot on Friday.
Pakistani protesters rally against India in Islamabad
In a sign tensions are easing, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said a delegation would visit New Delhi next week to discuss an accord on Sikh pilgrims visiting holy sites in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s government have sacked a provincial minister for making offensive comments about Hindus in a highly charged speech against India.
Punjab provincial Information Minister Fayyaz Chohan referred on Monday to Hindus, who number more than four million in Muslim-majority Pakistan, as “cow urine drinkers”.
The statement was immediately condemned on social media and by senior members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as hurtful to the country’s Hindu minority.
Chohan later said his comments were aimed at India and not Pakistani Hindus.
Men across India are copying the facial hair of their new hero, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
The pilo crash-landed in Pakistan-controlled territory on Wednesday. After attempting to flee on foot, firing his pistol in the air to deter stone-throwing locals, he became the human face of the crisis.
Barbers in several cities in India said they have since received requests to copy Abhinandan’s facial hair, a distinctive hybrid of a horseshoe moustache and mutton chop sideburns.
“Everybody follows Bollywood and celebrities’ style but he is the real hero of our country,” said Dhiren Makvana, 30, the manager of a fitness club, as he had his beard sculpted in Ahmedabad.