Several Indian news outlets, earlier this week, falsely claimed Pakistan denied airspace entry to an Indian Air Force aircraft carrying relief supplies to earthquake-hit Türkiye.
The false flaim was reported by media outlets including Firstpost, Free Press Journal, Zee News and Mirror Now. It was also picked up soon by right wing Twitter accounts like MeghUpdates.
The outlets which did not quote an IAF or a Ministry of External Affairs officer also said that the Indian aircraft was forced to take a detour, after being denied entry into the Pakistan airspace.
Twitter handle MeghUpdates also shared the same false claim. BOOM has debunked several communally charged pieces of misinformation and disinformation from the account.
Türkiyen and Syria were hit by a devastating earthquake measuring 7.8 magnitude in the wee hours of February 6, 2023. Rescue teams and aid were rushed to the two countries to help in continuing the search operations and provide medical help. The death toll has crossed 21,000 and continues to rise.
India has since February 7, sent six planes carrying rescue material, medical equipment and trained personnel and set up a field hospital in Hatay, Türkiye
The claim was published by media outlets on February 7 when India started the relief work under Operation Dost.
BOOM found that the news outlets published false information and that the route being taken by the India Air Force (IAF) aircraft to Turkey does not include Pakistan.
The news reports were first called out on Twitter by journalists who cover defence and military operations.
India Today journalist Ankiit Koomar tweeted a simulation clip of the IAF's flight path and said that there is no confirmation on whether India did ask Pakistan for permission to use the airspace. Koomar also pointed out that the flight path does not show "inclination to use the Pakistani airspace"
WION News correspondent Sidhant Sibal also said the same and pointed out that India did not use the Pakistan airspace during evacuation of Indians stranded in Afghanistan in 2021.
A source within the IAF refuted the claim and said the standard route taken by the airforce plane, as part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission to Turkey from India does not include Pakistan.
The source wanting to remain anonymity, as they not authorised to speak, said, "IAF aircraft followed the standard routing for the HADR missions from India to Turkey. This routing does not include flying through Pakistani airspace."
We also found a story published by the India Today on February 7, 2023 which quoted an IAF official explaining the flight path as, "Our planes take a longer route by flying from the Gujarat side to avoid Pakistani air space while going towards Europe or West Asia."