KASHMIR: Indian paramilitary troopers patrol outside a central jail in downtown Srinagar. Riots broke out after rumors started floating that some inmates were being shifted out of the Kashmir valley. The inmates burnt a temporary shelter and tried to come to the outer cordon of the jail located in the downtown area of the city. - AFP

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed India's ruling Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) for "whipping up war hysteria" over claims that India
shot down a Pakistani F-16 during a standoff in February, saying the truth is
always the best policy. US-based Foreign Policy magazine, citing US officials,
said all of Pakistan's F-16 combat jets had been accounted for, contradicting
an Indian air force assessment that it had shot down one of the jets.

"The truth
always prevails and is always the best policy," Khan said in a Tweet.
"BJP's attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false
claims of downing a Pak F 16 has backfired with US Defense officials also
confirming that no F16 was missing from Pakistan's fleet." Nuclear-armed
neighbors India and Pakistan engaged in an aerial battle over the disputed
region of Kashmir a day after Indian jets crossed over into Pakistan to attack
a suspected camp of anti-India militants. An Indian jet was brought down during
the fight and its pilot captured when he ejected on the Pakistani side of the
border. He was later released.

India said it too
had shot down a Pakistani aircraft and the air force displayed pieces of a
missile that it said had been fired by a Pakistani F-16 before it went down.
Foreign Policy said in a report published on Thursday two US defense officials
with direct knowledge of the matter said US personnel had done a count of
Pakistan's F-16s and found none missing. Details of the India-Pakistan air
engagement have not been fully provided by either side. If the US report turns
out to be true, it would be a further blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who
had said that India had taught Pakistan a lesson, ahead of elections next week.

The BJP is
campaigning on a platform of tough national security, especially with regard to
arch foe Pakistan. New Delhi blames Pakistan for stoking a 30-year revolt in
Muslim-majority Kashmir but Islamabad denies any involvement. BJP spokesman
Bizay Sonkar Shastri dismissed Khan's accusations. "Firstly, their
(Pakistan's) habit of lying is no secret to the world. Secondly, this is
absolutely clear that the roots of terrorism lie in Pakistan and terrorism is
cultivated in Pakistan," he told Reuters.

The success of
Indian air strikes on a camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group in
northwestern Pakistan has also been thrown into doubt after satellite images
showed little sign of damage. High-resolution satellite images reviewed by Reuters
last month showed that a religious school run by Jaish appeared to be still
standing days after India said its warplanes had hit the Islamist group's
training camp on the site and killed a large number of militants. Pakistan
closed its airspace amid the standoff but most commercial air traffic has since
resumed and major airports have opened.

Pakistan offered
to open one air route on Friday, an Indian government official said, without
specifying details and declining to be named as the matter was not public. An
Air India official said on condition of anonymity that Pakistan has opened one
of its 11 air routes, from the southern side, adding that the carrier began
operations via this route on Friday. "Pakistan has opened one air route
over India on April 4th, it is a north-west bound route," Mujtaba Baig,
spokesman for Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said yesterday. An email sent
to the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation was not immediately
answered. Air India did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

360 Indian

In another
development, scale back from a confrontation that prompted world powers to urge
restraint. Tension has been running high since a suicide car bombing by
Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian
paramilitary police on Feb 14, but the risk of conflict rose dramatically on
Feb 27, when India launched an air strike on what it said was a militant
training base. The following day Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet and
captured its pilot who was later released.

has decided that 360 Indian prisoners - having breakup of 355 fishermen and
five civilians, who have completed their term of sentence, will be
released," Mohammad Faisal, spokesman for the Pakistan Foreign Office,
told reporters. He said the prisoners would be released in four batches
starting from April 8. Due to the rocky relations between the two sides,
prisoners who have completed their jail terms often languish in each other's jails
for months, if not years, afterwards.

According to the
lists exchanged by both sides in January, there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in
Indian jails, 249 of whom are what the spokesman described as civilians and 98
fishermen. There are 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails, 483 of whom are
fishermen. "We hope that India will reciprocate this," the foreign
office spokesman said. Pakistan's F-16 combat jets have all been accounted for,
US-based Foreign Policy magazine said, citing US officials, contradicting an
Indian air force assessment that it had shot down one of the jets in the
February standoff. - Agencies