Mr Khan posted a thread on Twitter about the events of early 2019, in which the two countries’ air forces engaged in some of the worst clashes on the border in decades, with India bombing a target within Pakistani territory and Pakistan shooting down and capturing an Indian pilot.
The airstrikes at Balakot have been back in the news in India after a leaked WhatsApp conversation purporting to involve the firebrand right wing anchor Arnab Goswami appeared to show he had prior information about the attack, three days before it took place.
Pakistan’s prime minister said that the combination of India’s “dangerous military adventurism” and warmongering by the media risked pushing the two nuclear-armed neighbours to the “brink of conflict”.
Mr Khan said the Goswami chats were proof that Delhi had intended to use the Balakot strikes for political gain. Mr Modi went on to win a landslide second election victory in May 2019.
“In 2019, I spoke at UNGA (the UN General Assembly) on how India’s fascist Modi govt used the Balakot crisis for domestic electoral gains. Latest revelations from communication of an Indian journalist, known for his warmongering, reveal the unholy nexus between the Modi govt & Indian media,” Mr Khan tweeted.
India claimed at the time that its airstrikes on Pakistan-administered Kashmir’s Balakot region targeted a militant training camp in February 2019. The military operation was India’s retaliation to a separatist militant’s car bomb attack in its own region of Kashmir, the Pulwama bombing, that killed 40 paramilitary officers.
In the leaked WhatsApp chats, Goswami allegedly told a friend and chief executive of the TV ratings agency, Partho Dasgupta, that “something big will happen”.
When asked what it was related to, Goswami is reported to have said: “Pakistan. Something major will be done this time…” adding that it would be a “bigger than a normal strike”.
Mr Khan accused Mr Modi of doing anything to win the 2019 election – in this case whipping up anti-Pakistan sentiment – “in utter disregard for the consequences of destabilising the entire region”.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry echoed Mr Khan’s sentiments and said the chats vindicate their claims that the Modi government is staging “false flag operations”. It accused India of maligning Pakistan with allegations of terrorism and urged the international community to hold Delhi accountable for “endangering peace and security in South Asia”.
While Goswami has neither confirmed nor denied the veracity of the leaked WhatsApp chats, he did issue a statement in response to Mr Khan and the foreign ministry’s comments.
“India’s intention to hit back at Pakistan after the Pulwama attack was an officially stated position,” Goswami said. “There was no doubt in any nationalist Indian’s mind that we would hit back. Which we did.”
The WhatsApp conversations appear to have been made public as they form part of the Mumbai police’s investigations into alleged TV ratings rigging by Goswami’s Republic TV and others, and the anchor suggested that Pakistan and Mr Khan had “a hand in the conspiracy against” his channel.
“If the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan have come out in support of the malicious police action against the Republic (TV), then nothing much is left to be said,” he added.