SUKKUR: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah has warned that a full-scale war between Pakistan and India, if takes place, is bound to turn into a third world war and cause a huge loss of life and massive destruction in the region.

Speaking to the media at his residence here on Friday, Mr Shah ruled out possibility of a war between the two countries observing that [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi was not expected to commit a blunder that could lead to a war.

Commenting on the war hysteria let loose by the Indian media over the past few days, the opposition leader said: “India cannot cause any harm to Pakistan, which is strong enough to counter adventurism that may be resorted to by a foreign power”.

He, however, expressed his concern over heightening tension between the two nuclear powers of Asia and provocative statements of warmongers being blown out of proportion by the Indian media.

“A war is not going to take place but, God forbid, if it is triggered, it may engulf other countries and turn into another world war,” he said. Mr Shah said that if the Modi government tried to impose a war on Pakistan, the entire Pakistani nation would stand behind its armed forces in giving her a befitting reply.

He observed that Pakistan had always been working for peace in the region and other parts of the world but had also been prepared to defend its territorial and ideological boundaries. “If India wants to test our capability to defend our motherland, she can do so any time only to disappoint herself,” he said. He said he did no believe the Modi government would make a mistake that was bound to embarrass it.

Mr Shah was of the view that New Delhi was pursuing a particular anti-Pakistan agenda and there was talk in India about a ‘limited war’ to contain what the Indian government and media termed “Pakistan-sponsored acts of terrorism”. “The entire world is convinced that Pakistan has long been a victim of terrorism and its forces are engaged in combating terrorism. If a so-called ‘limited war’ is resorted to on any pretext relating to this international phenomenon, then it must be kept in mind that it would not remain limited to embattled parties or a particular area,” said the senior politician.

The opposition leader explained that a war, howsoever limited, was bound to involve other countries. It would definitely put the entire region under threat and spread to other regions as well, he added.

Mr Shah noted that the Pakistan Army had almost eliminated terrorists, their networks and their hideouts from the country through its ‘Zarb-i-Azb’ operation.

Kashmir issue

The opposition leader said that Pakistan had adopted a principled stand on the issue of Kashmir and pursuing a peaceful solution to the dispute with India. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaking at the ongoing UN General Assembly session again highlighted the issue and pleaded Pakistan’s case in an impressive manner. He appreciated the prime minister’s speech but expressed the view that he [Mr Sharif] should also have raised the issue of Indian nefarious designs against Pakistan at the world forum.

“He should have talked about India’s interference in Balochistan, Modi government’s support for Brahamdagh Bugti and Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing’s (RAW’s) anti-Pakistan activities. He must have unmasked India’s real face and exposed her nefarious designs,” he said.

The opposition leader also repeated the complaint that the prime minister would not take the parliament into confidence on national and international issues. “He ought to discuss Kashmir, terrorism, foreign interference and other such issues with parliamentarians and seek their advice before the UN General Assembly session,” he said.

MQM and Altaf Hussain

In reply to a question about the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s internal rift and leadership crisis, Syed Khurshid Shah said that Dr Farooq Sattar-led parliamentarians and their party colleagues had now succeeded in convincing the masses that they had really dissociated themselves from the party founder, Altaf Hussain, and his fellows sitting in London [MQM secretariat]. “The MQM-Pakistan comprises patriotic people and its voters and supporters are also true Pakistanis,” Mr Shah observed, and said that their position be understood and they be allowed to continue with their political activities now after they had parted ways with their founder leader, Altaf Hussain.

He said: “Altaf Hussain has actually lost his senses. What is a point in trying a person, who has started speaking and acting like an insane one, for treason?”

Khurshid Shah said it was the the MQM-London [group] that had been working for RAW.

Published in Dawn September 24th, 2016