ISLAMABAD: The Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, has declared that Pakistan, a nuclear power, is ready for war.

Reacting to a statement of Indian army chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Saturday, Maj Gen Ghafoor said that Pakistan’s desire for peace must not be misconstrued as its weakness.

“A war is launched when someone is not ready for it. We are ready for war, but want to move towards peace,” he declared.

Minister also says Indian army chief’s remarks are inappropriate

The chief of the ISPR, the media wing of Pakistan Army, termed the Indian army chief’s statement inappropriate.

According to the Times of India, the Indian army chief said India “needs to take stern action to avenge the barbarism that the terrorists and Pakistan Army have been carrying out”. “Yes, it’s time to give it back to them in the same coin, not resorting to similar kind of barbarism. But I think the other side must also feel the same pain,” the Indian army chief was quoted as saying.

The ISPR chief said that several movements for independence were going on in India. “In addition, the Indian army is facing corruption charges. It is issuing such statements to divert attention from the corruption allegations.”

Maj Gen Ghafoor said that Pakistan had been made a victim of terrorism, but its army had established peace in the country. “We will not let anyone sabotage peace of the region,” he added.

He said that India could not provide proof of a surgical strike (across the Line of Control) in its parliament. Maj Gen Ghafoor asked India not to resolve its internal problems on the pretext of Pakistan.

Minister rejects Indian jingoism

Minister for Information and Broadcas­ting Fawad Chaudhry also promptly came up with a response, backing the ISPR DG’s statement.

“Pakistan and India are nuclear powers; a war is out of the question,” he said.

“The Indian army chief’s statement is inappropriate and he must refrain from using statements as a political tool,” the minister said in a statement.

“The Indian army chief needs to understand that he is not a leader of BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party — India’s ruling extremist party],” Mr Chaudhry remarked, adding that the “world stands witness to who wants war and who wants peace”.

He said that the only way to peace between India and Pakistan was dialogue.

“As a peace-loving nation, Pakistan desires peace [with India],” the minister stressed, highlighting the fact that peace would be of benefit to billions across both nations.

He said that Pakistan had reached out (to India) in the hope for peace and “will continue its efforts to that end”.

Fawad Chaudhry rejected the Indian move of jingoism saying that it was aimed at diverting attention from the corruption scam against the Indian prime minister.

He said that the world had witnessed attitudes of Pakistan and India towards peace. “Prime Minister Imran Khan is taking initiatives for peace while the Indian leadership is hurling bellicose threats.”

The minister said that peace was in the interest of both India and Pakistan as it would usher in progress and prosperity in the region.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2018