The Air Force media wing’s prompt response after militants attacked Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base Minhas in Kamra helped avert the usual chaos media outlets go through during such incidents.
The office of media affairs of the PAF confirmed immediately that the base had come under attack.
“A group of terrorists have attacked a portion of PAF base Minhas. PAF security personnel have cordoned off the area and have encircled the terrorists. Intense fire is being exchanged between security personnel and the terrorists. Further details will be communicated soon,” the first press release stated.
The statement was received at media outlets at 4:15am, and was followed by a number of updates on the operation till 8pm.
In similar situations, the media, especially electronic, starts running rumours as news since no authentic information is available.
Some channels initially claimed that the 111-brigade had been moved to deal with the situation, while some international media outlets even reported that there was a possibility of the presence of nuclear weapons in the vicinity.
However, immediately after the media wing started releasing updates on the operation, the disorder subsided, if not completely averted.
PAF spokesperson Group Captain Tariq Mehmood told The Express Tribune that Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, himself, supervised the operation from the Air Headquarters.
“The air chief was in the operation room at the headquarters and was directly guiding each and every thing. We had an operation room at the base and they (air chief and his deputy) were directly coordinating with them,” he said.
He added he himself was in touch with his superiors who kept him updated on the incident, to keep the general public in the loop.
When asked, the spokesperson dismissed reports of the presence of nuclear weapons at the airbase as ‘absurd’.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.