Pakistan on Sunday claimed India was planning new “action” between April 16 and 20, and summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia and issued a demarche warning New Delhi “against any misadventure”.
At a press conference in his home town of Multan, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Pakistani government had “reliable intelligence that India is devising a new plan”.
“A new mishap could be staged… And its purpose will be to justify their (India’s) offensive against Pakistan and to increase diplomatic pressure against Islamabad,” Qureshi alleged.
“If it happens, you can imagine the impact of the occurrence on the peace and stability of the region. According to our information, the action could be taken between 16 and 20 April,” Qureshi claimed, adding that Pakistan was preparing to respond.
In a sharply-worded reaction, Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “India rejects the irresponsible and preposterous statement by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan with a clear objective of whipping up war hysteria in the region. This public gimmick appears to be a call to Pakistan-based terrorists to undertake a terror attack in India.”
Kumar added, “India reserves the right to respond firmly and decisively to any cross-border terrorist attack.”
Qureshi said Pakistan had already briefed the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on the matter, and put Islamabad’s apprehensions before them. “We want the international community to take notice of this irresponsible behaviour and reprimand them (India) for taking this route,” he said.
Qureshi also criticised the global community for keeping silent after India violated Pakistan’s territory on February 26 by striking Balakot.
Hours later, the spokesperson for Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Mohammad Faisal, posted on Twitter, “Indian DHC was summoned for demarche in line with FM’s briefing of today and warned against any misadventure.”
Tensions escalated sharply after India conducted airstrikes against a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp on February 26, days after the February 14 terrorist attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama. On February 27, Pakistani jets entered Indian airspace to carry out air action.
While the situation has eased considerably over the last few weeks, Sunday’s developments are likely to once again raise the temperature.
The MEA spokesperson said, “It has been made clear to Pakistan that it cannot absolve itself of responsibility of a cross-border terrorist attack in India. No attempt at creating an alibi for its complicity in such attacks will succeed. Pakistan needs to take credible and irreversible steps against terrorism operating from all territories under its control rather than making hysterical statements to obfuscate the core issue that bedevils our region: cross-border terrorism. Pakistan has been advised to use established diplomatic and DGMO channels to share any actionable and credible intelligence it has about imminent terror attacks.”