ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged the world to stop the Modi government from pushing India towards war with Pakistan.

He said this in a series of tweets in response to publication of transcript of WhatsApp chats between Indian TV anchor Arnab Goswami and head of an Indian ratings company Partho Dasgupta, which suggested that the journalist knew in advance about Delhi’s plan to attack Pakistan.

The chats were submitted as evidence by the Mumbai police in an ongoing investigation into manipulation of television ratings in India.

Prime Minister Khan recalled his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2019 in which he had accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party BJP of dangerously using the Balakot strikes for political gains and said the recent disclosure had proved him right.

Says Goswami’s remarks reveal nexus between Delhi govt and Indian media

“In 2019, I spoke at UNGA on how India’s fascist Modi govt used the Balakot crisis for domestic electoral gains. Latest revelations from communication of an Indian journalist, known for his warmongering, reveal the unholy nexus between the Modi govt & Indian media that led to a dangerous military adventurism to win an election in utter disregard for the consequences of destabilising the entire region,” the prime minister said.

Indian fighter jets intruded into Pakistani airspace on Feb 26, 2019, and claimed to hit alleged militant targets to avenge the Feb 14’s Pulwama attack on a paramilitary convoy, which Delhi blamed on Kashmiri freedom fighters.

A day later, Pakistan Air Force demonstrated its “will and capacity” to retaliate by targeting an open space across the LoC from its own airspace. This was followed by an aerial dogfight between Pakistani and Indian fighter jets in which India lost two of its aircraft. One of the IAF aircraft fell on the Pakistani side and its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was taken captive.

The pilot was returned to India a couple of days later amid efforts to defuse the tense stand-off between the two nuclear-armed countries.

“Pakistan averted a larger crisis by a responsible, measured response to Balakot. Yet, Modi govt continues to turn India into a rogue state,” PM Khan tweeted.

“Indian sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan, its abuses in IIOJK & a 15-year Indian global disinformation campaign against us all stand exposed. Now India’s own media has revealed the dirty nexus that is pushing our nuclearised region to the brink of a conflict it cannot afford,” he further said.

In the published transcripts of WhatsApp conversations, Goswami could be seen telling Dasgupta, three days before the Balakot attack, that “something big will happen”.

Dasgupta responded by saying: “It’s good for big man in this season. … He will sweep polls then.”

The conversation left little doubt about the goal behind the aerial raid and that the plan had been discussed with pro-BJP media persons.

PM Khan vowed to “continue to expose India’s belligerent designs towards Pakistan & Modi govt’s fascism”.

He called on the international community to stop the Modi government from its “reckless, militarist agenda” before it pushes South Asia into a conflict “it cannot control”.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2021

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