ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday said if forced into war by India, Pakistan will respond in a befitting manner, adding that “our arms are not meant for decoration.”
“If need be, we will use them [arms] against India,” said Asif.
Speaking at a book-launch ceremony in Islamabad, the defence minister severely criticised a recent series of hostile statements from Indian politicians.
“By issuing provocative statements, Indian politicians want to distract Pakistan’s attention from the war on terror,” he said, adding that India had been “promoting terrorism in Pakistan.”
The defence minister said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had placed the recent “threatening statements” from India before United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a recent meeting between the two in Dushanbe.
Also read: Nawaz urges Ban Ki-moon to resolve Kashmir issue.
Talking on US foreign policy, the minister said America had miserably failed in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This is, in fact, a failure of their foreign policy,” he said referring to American interventions in the two countries.
“Unfortunately, Pakistan jumped into America’s war against the Soviets and is now facing the consequences of that decision in the shape of widespread terrorism.”
Asif was of the view that American foreign policy is closely linked to their national interests, adding that Pakistan ought to mirror the United States in this regard.
Khawaja Asif also lauded the government’s decision to not get involved in the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen.
“Our decision not to be a part of the war in Yemen was a wise one. But in case Saudi Arabia’s security is threatened in the future, Pakistan will move to protect the kingdom.”
The defence minister was highly critical of local media, especially local television channels, during his talk. He said TV channels were commercial in nature and leaned towards creating content they could easily sell.
“There is a need to balance commercialism and nationalism,” lamented Asif.
He also criticised local media for not highlighting the brutalities inflicted by the Indian army on residents of occupied Kashmir. “There seems to be no charm for television channels in highlighting the Kashmir issue,” he said, adding that media should promote Pakistan’s national and foreign policy objectives.
Pakistan will not hold dialogue on India's terms: Sartaj Aziz
Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday underscored that Pakistan will not hold dialogue with India on her terms, adding that there can be no dialogue without the water issue and Kashmir as topics for discussion.
Speaking to media representatives in Islamabad after an inauguration of the 10th meeting of heads of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries, Aziz said that even if cordial terms are not possible with India, Pakistan wants to maintain tension-free relations with her.
Sartaj reiterated that Pakistan will take up India's anti-Pakistan statements with the United Nations' Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
President Mamnoon condemns Indian propaganda against CPEC
While addressing the convocation ceremony of 'National Security and War Course' at National Defence University in Islamabad on Monday, President Mamnoon condemned Indian propaganda against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, said a report published on Radio Pakistan.
The president urged people not to over-react on the statements and stand by the government to rebut in a suitable manner. He reiterated that the nation must support the government and armed forces to overcome challenges.
The President also said that other countries' reservations on the project are baseless and the government is focused on completing the corridor with all seriousness, as it is significant for Pakistan's future.
Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address at Dhaka University blamed Pakistan for spreading terrorism and fear in neighbouring India.
Earlier, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a shocking and radical statement, had asserted that terrorists have to be neutralised only through terrorists.
“India will take proactive steps to prevent a 26/11 type attack,” Press Trust of India quoted him saying.
Commenting on the shocking utterances of the Indian Defence Minister, a defence analyst said the statement was appalling and beyond comprehension.
The Senate last week passed a unanimous resolution strongly condemning recent provocative statements made by the top Indian leadership, including the threat of attacks on Pakistani territory.
The resolution had said that the House emphasises that Pakistan would never allow its territory to be violated by India under any pretext, and that Pakistan's armed forces are capable of issuing a befitting response to any such incursion.
The Upper House of Parliament had urged the international community to take notice of India's provocative statements, which did not bode well for regional peace and affected prospects of sovereignty and stability.
Also read: Pakistan, India vow to work together
During Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's visit to Pakistan in March, despite clear commitment from both sides to narrow divergences and build on convergences, there was no timeline given for resumption of bilateral engagement.
“We’ll move when both sides are ready. We’ll remain in touch and see how and when to take the next step,” Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry had said while replying to a question and hastened to add that there was a need to seriously addressing each other’s concerns.