ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s civil and military leaders Saturday gave a shut-up call to India, warning that any misadventure will get a matched response.
Speaking at a joint news conference here, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor said India must not commit further blunders by launching attack on Pakistan.
The two made it clear that no aggression will go without a strong response.
“The world must act to stop India. We will not quietly watch Indian attacks. We will strongly react. The government, opposition and the military are one unit on national issues,” Qureshi said.
General Ghafoor added: “Our last soldier will fight till his death for Pakistan and Kashmir.”
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan and Kashmir Committee Chairman Syed Fakhar Imam were also present at the media interaction.
There has been a heightened tension between the two nuclear-armed rivals since New Delhi controversially ended the autonomous status of the part of Kashmir it administers.
A number of people, both civilians and soldiers, have been killed in cross-border fire between Pakistan and India in recent days.
Skirmishes are frequent across the Line of Control that divides the territory, but the latest deaths came after Pakistan warned it was ready to respond to any Indian aggression.
This week, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hinted that New Delhi might change its ‘no first use’ policy on nuclear weapons, amid heightened tensions with fellow atomic power Pakistan.
Singh made the comment on Twitter after visiting Pokhran, the site of India’s nuclear tests in 1998 under then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
“Pokhran is the area which witnessed (Vajpayee’s) firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’,” Singh wrote, adding: “India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.”
His comments prompted considerable noise in both Pakistan and India, with Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari tweeting that India “need to stop lying.”
The foreign minister at the media conference said Pakistan was keeping a close eye on the evolving situation in the occupied Kashmir and the process of consultations will continue.
Qureshi also warned the international community that India can carry out any false flag operation near the Line of Control to divert world attention from its illegal actions and human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.
“We have doubts on the Indian intent and actions,” the minister said. He however reiterated that Pakistan’s people and its institutions were ready to respond to any Indian belligerence.
Earlier, a meeting of the Kashmir committee was held to discuss the situation in the held territory. The meeting decided to internationalise the Kashmir issue to liberate it from India.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan has decided to intensify its lobbying efforts to effectively highlight the prevailing situation in occupied Kashmir.
Giving details of the decisions taken in the meeting, he said it has been decided to establish a Kashmir Cell in the Foreign Office in order to give impetus to the ongoing efforts and pursue a focused approach on Kashmir.
The foreign minister said foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood has been directed to prepare a structure for the Kashmir Cell and present before him for approval.
He said it has also been decided to establish Kashmir cells in Pakistan’s embassies in the key world capitals. A focal person in each of these embassies will ensure coordinated effort, he added.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said the UN Security Council meeting on Kashmir was a big diplomatic victory of Pakistan and defeat of India. He however said this was a continuing process and the country would fight the Kashmir cause on all fronts.
“Today’s India is not that of Jawaharlal Nehru but of Narrndra Modi and there is a clear difference between the two,” he commented.
Referring to the situation of occupied Kashmir, he said the Kashmir people offered Friday prayers at open places despite the imposition of curfew by the occupying forces.
He said Kashmiris resorted to protests after the prayers. This was only a reflection as to where the situation will turn once the curfew is lifted in the occupied territory.
Qureshi said the opposition parties had been given representation in the special committee on Kashmir. He said the opposition parties participated in the Saturday meeting and gave the message of unity on Kashmir.
ISPR chief’s talk
Speaking on the occasion, Major General Asif Ghafoor said occupied Kashmir has been turned into a prison by the occupying forces.
He rejected the Indian propaganda that Pakistan was supporting infiltration inside the occupied territory. He said India was resorting to such propaganda to carry out a false flag operation.
Ghafoor, however, said Pakistan’s armed forces are fully ready for defence of the homeland and give a befitting response to any aggression.
To a question regarding the statement of the Indian defence minister, the DG ISPR said sane nations do not talk in this way.
He said Kashmir was a nuclear flashpoint and both Pakistan and India are nuclear powers. He said the world should see into the statement given by the Indian minister.
Major General Asif Ghafoor said the armed forces of Pakistan were capable enough to respond to any aggression.