The Pakistan Army on Friday said the country does not wish for war, but warned India of “surprise” in case it takes any aggressive military measures, amidst heightened tensions between the two sides following the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
Addressing a press conference, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor also said that India blamed Pakistan for the Pulwama attack “without due investigation” and New Delhi has not yet accepted the “reality of partition”.
“We have a 72-year history. The partition happened in 1947 and Pakistan was liberated. India still hasn’t been able to accept that,” the Army spokesman said after the terror strike by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14. “We are not preparing for war, you (India) are issuing threats…we have right to respond to the threats. We are not preparing to initiate but planning to defend and retaliate which is our right,” the Army spokesman said.
He further said: “Should you (India) initiate any reaction first, you would never be able to surprise us…we will surprise you.” He said when it comes to India, “Pakistan has singleness of conception. We have will and determination.” Ghafoor warned that military response this time will be different in case of war. “We are not the army of past, we are a battle-hardened army. We have fought against an unseen enemy and won,” he said.
The army spokesman said that “we can respond to full spectrum threat” and warned “I hope you (India) get (the message) and do not mess with Pakistan”. To a question about nature of preparations, he said, “We are not preparing for war but we are preparing for response and whatever response is needed, we have prepared for it.” He alleged that the Pulwama attack shows the “failure” of Indian security forces. “From the Line of Control onwards, Indian security forces have layered defences…So the Pulwama attack shows failure of Indian forces,” he said.
Asserting that India needs “introspection” on Kashmir, he said, “The Pulwama attack happened miles away from the LoC. The explosives that were used were local, the vehicle used was local and the youth who did it was also local.” “We are saying let us talk about the attack, let us talk about militancy and peace. The biggest issue is Kashmir and let us talk about it,” he said. “We are two democracies, and democracies do not fight,” he said.
“I met Indian journalists sometimes ago and shared with them the message of the army chief that ‘countries do not prosper, regions prosper’ and in the 21st Century, the biggest issue is how to make progress,” he said.
Ghafoor said that Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday authorised the Army to take all measures to defend the country in case of any attack. He said the Pulwama attack was negative for Pakistan as it came when important events were taking place in Pakistan including visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. “Our reaction shows that the prime minister offered complete cooperation if evidence is shared and he promised to take action. He also offered to talk about the issue of terrorism,” Ghafoor said. He said Pakistan was changing and “we came to this point after heavy struggle. We are the only country and army which fought terrorism like we did.”
He said Pakistan had defeated militants and now action started against extremist groups under the National Action Plan to eliminate militancy and terrorism. He said that media in Pakistan was behaving responsibly while “Indian media is doing war journalism”.
Later in a statement, he said that Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the LoC and reviewed the troops’ state of preparedness. It was the first visit of the Army chief to the LoC since tension escalated between the two countries after the terror attack.
The Army chief interacted with the Pakistani troops deployed on the LoC and also addressed them. He said, “Pakistan is a peace loving county and it will not be intimidated or coerced. Any aggression or misadventure shall be paid back in same coin.” The already sour relations between India and Pakistan have worsened as New Delhi blamed Islamabad for the Pulwama attack. Both countries have called back their envoys for “consultations.”