—FM says India will orchestrate attack in Kashmir between April 16 and 20 to ramp up pressure on Pakistan
–Pakistan summons Indian envoy, says misadventure will push region towards chaos
MULTAN: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday warned of another Pulwama-like incident in occupied Kashmir by the Indian government between April 16 and 20 to justify its offensive against Pakistan and to increase diplomatic pressure against Islamabad.
Addressing a press conference in Multan, the foreign minister said he had credible intelligence regarding the potential attack. He said he was making the statement, fully knowing it would be picked up by the international media.
“We have reliable intelligence that another act of aggression is highly likely between April 16 and 20 by India against Pakistan,” the foreign minister stressed.
“If it happens, you can imagine the impact of the occurrence on the peace and stability of the region,” said Qureshi, urging the global powers to intervene.
He further stated that after consultation with Prime Minister Imran Khan it was decided to share this information with people of Pakistan and the international community. “It is our policy to keep the nation informed,” he added.
Urging the United Nations (UN) and the global community to play their role in ensuring peace and stability in South Asia, Qureshi said that fear of war has not ended. “Modi has given free hand to the Indian army,” he asserted.
The foreign minister added that Pakistan has informed all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including China, France, United States, United Kingdom and Russia about Indian plans to disrupt the peace of the region.
“The international community must take notice of India’s irresponsible acts of aggression,” he maintained, adding that Pakistan is once again offering dialogue to India for prosperity and stability between both countries.
He reiterated that Pakistan took necessary steps to reduce tension with India after Pulwama attack in which 40 Indian paramilitary personnel were killed.
“We released Indian captured pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan as a gesture of peace,” he said, adding that government has also released 360 Indian fishermen for better ties.
The foreign minister recounted the recent events that unfolded between Pakistan and India after Pulwama attack and said that New Delhi’s claim of downing F-16 has turned out to be incorrect.
Qureshi also criticised the global community for remaining silent over Indian aggression against Pakistan on February 26. He said that international powers did not reprimand India despite blatant violation of international laws on the part of India due to geopolitics.
“The international community, given the sensitivity of this flashpoint, should not remain silent,” he stated, adding that the global community should and would have to play their role in this regard.
When asked what Pakistan’s response would be to any act of aggression by India, he said, “We reserve the right to self defence.”
FO SUMMONS INDIAN ENVOY:
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office (FO) summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner to protest New Delhi’s alleged plan to carry out further military action against Pakistan.
The Indian envoy, who was summoned by FO spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, was handed a demarche to convey Pakistan’s objections.
“India has been strongly warned by Pakistan in case of any misadventure,” the FO spokesperson said.
Pakistan and India had returned from the brink of war after a suicide bomber struck an Indian paramilitary convoy in Pulwama district of the occupied region, killing at least 44 troops.
India blamed Pakistan for the attack and launched airstrikes within Pakistani territory, followed Pakistani strikes in Kashmir and downing of an India jet.
The sparring between India and Pakistan threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by US officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, according to a Reuters report.
At one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes “three times over”, according to Western diplomats and government sources in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington.
The way in which tensions suddenly worsened and threatened to trigger a war between the nuclear-armed nations shows how the disputed Kashmir region remains one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.