MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said there is reliable intelligence that India can again launch an aggression against Pakistan between April 16 and 20.
Talking to the media on Sunday, the minister said reports of possible Indian military action were there and there was no official rebuttal from the Indian side.
“The possibility of a war between the two countries still persists and Pulwama-like incident could happen again in Indian-held Kashmir to justify the military action against Pakistan,” he said.
He said that Pakistan had informed the diplomats of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council as well as international community.
FM says Modi govt can stage another Pulwama-like incident to make ground for aggression
“We want the international community to take notice of this irresponsible attitude of India and warn it against taking this path. On the Pulwama issue, many countries remained silent due to geopolitics and if they still remain silent over this issue, peace in south Asia could suffer,” he warned.
Mr Qureshi said he was briefing the nation and international community over the issue after a go-ahead from the prime minister. “If India goes for aggression, Pakistan will forcefully respond according to the wishes of the nation and international laws,” he said.
The minister said the Indian media had reported extensively on the recent meeting of the cabinet committee on Defence, which was presided over by the Indian Prime Minister and also attended by all three Indian service chiefs, who stated that they were ready to act against Pakistan and only required a political nod. Responding, PM Modi said he had granted them free hand and they already had his permission.
“This statement indicates India is taking escalation to a new level. PM Modi told his services chiefs that they are permitted and should act. The Indian chiefs said that they have already selected targets, which are military in nature and are not necessarily restricted to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, but can go beyond AJK. This is what’s happening. New military action against Pakistan is being announced by India,” FM Qureshi said.
“Pakistan has reliable intelligence that India is hatching a new plan of aggression against Pakistan. A new Pulwama-like incident may be staged in the Indian occupied Kashmir. The aim is to use such an incident to increase diplomatic pressure on Pakistan and justify Indian aggression.
“Now if this happens, God forbid, you can imagine its impact on regional peace and stability. Keeping this reliable intelligence in mind, the Foreign Office immediately decided to brief P-5 ambassadors.
“The foreign secretary had apprised them of Pakistan’s concerns two days ago. She stressed that we want the international community to take notice of this irresponsible behaviour and restrain India from embarking on this path.”
He said since the voice of the people of India-held Kashmir was being silenced, Pakistan would continue to provide diplomatic, legal and moral support to the Kashmiris.
The minister said India propaganda had already been exposed. “It’s not us but the international media, which has exposed it. The Modi government tried to gain Indian public sympathy on three accounts. India alleged that it hit three terrorist camps inside Pakistan through surgical strikes. The world saw there were no terrorist camps. India failed to show any camp through satellite imagery. The world just saw four holes and some damaged trees due to Indian bombs.
“Their second allegation was [about] targeting and killing more than 350 terrorists. They could not show even one dead body, could not provide footage of even one funeral, nor showed injured in hospitals.
“Their third allegation that Pakistan denied was about shooting down of an F-16 of the Pakistan Air Force. Now the world [has seen], foreign policy magazine has reported, and the US has verified, that no PAF F-16 was affected or shot down. After this embarrassing outcome [for India], we have information that they [the Modi government] are making new plans of aggression against Pakistan. This is very dangerous.”
The foreign minister said the world was aware that Pakistan had adopted a responsible attitude in the wake of Balakot attack.
He said India had resorted to continuous firing and provocation at the Line of Control (LoC) before and especially after the Pulwama incident. “Pakistan is trying to resolve matters with great restraint, yet our civilian population is being targeted. There have been casualties. I strongly condemn this aggression.”
The minister said Pakistan unilaterally decided to hand over the captured Indian pilot in a goodwill gesture. The perception of pressure on Pakistan being created by India was totally wrong. Pakistan made this decision on its own. “The message we wanted India to know has already been conveyed that we will not tolerate any act of aggression against our territorial integrity and sovereignty. So, we decided to show a gesture of peace and goodwill to deescalate the situation by returning the captured Indian pilot. The world observed these developments closely and appreciated the conduct and the decision of Pakistan.”
He said Pakistan decided to send its delegation to India to discuss the Kartarpur corridor opening even after the Indian aggression. But India cancelled another meeting on the Kartarpur corridor.
He said Pakistan had also decided to release 360 Indian captives/fishermen unilaterally. “Let the world see Pakistan’s attitude and the obstinate behaviour of India and let them decide who wants peace and who has political desires from such activities.”
Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2019