Pakistan claimed that it shot down two Indian warplanes in a dogfight over Kashmir last week, but India said that it lost only one aircraft and had also downed a Pakistani Air Force (PAF) F-16 fighter jet.
Islamabad captured and later released an Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture, but reports also emerged about the alleged death of the pilot who flew the Pakistani F-16.
According to a story first reported by Indian news site Firstpost last week and then picked up by multiple Indian media outlets, the pilot, called Shahaz-ud-Din, bailed out of the crashing plane and landed somewhere in the Pakistan-ruled part of Kashmir.
Firstpost alleged, citing London-based lawyer Khalid Umar, that an angry mob mistook Shahaz-ud-Din for an Indian pilot and tried to lynch him; he is said to have later died in hospital because of sustained injuries.
According to Khalid Umar, who claimed to have talked to the pilot’s relatives, Shahaz-ud-Din was a son of retired Pakistani Air Marshal Wasimuddin.
However, a further look into this story casts doubt on Umar’s allegations. The Hong-Kong based Asia Times found out that while Wasimuddin did serve in the air force, he did not have a son named Shahaz-ud-Din.
The veteran marshal told the website that he had two sons who had never flown a plane and have never served for the PAF. One of them, Aleem Uddin, is said to be studying in the UK, while the other one, Waqar Uddin, is a telecom employee.
“I have not considered any legal action [against the Indian media]. I actually laughed them off. My sons have been abroad for years. Unfortunately, they have been needlessly dragged into all this,” Wasimuddin was quoted as saying.
In a bid to avoid unwanted attention, Wasimuddin reportedly refused a request from military officials to record his rebuttal on video.