Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday responded to the Indian allegations on Islamabad’s involvement in the attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama last Thursday. In a video message to the nation, Khan assured India that he would act against the perpetrators of the Pulwama terror attack if New Delhi shares “actionable intelligence”, but warned against any “revenge” retaliatory action.
Here is the full text of Pakistan PM’s statement:
“A few days ago, Pulwama was attacked, I should have responded immediately as Pakistan was blamed for it. However, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was visiting, and an investment conference was under way, for which we prepared a lot. I decided not to respond then as the attention would have been diverted from the visit. Therefore, now that the Crown Prince has left, I have decided to respond.
This is a response for the Indian government: First, you have blamed Pakistan for the attack without any evidence, without even a thought as to how Pakistan would gain from it.
Would Pakistan, currently hosting such an important conference, that we have been planning for so long, would anyone, even a fool, do this which would result in a sabotage of such an important conference? Even if the prince’s visit was not planned, how would have Pakistan benefited from it? When Pakistan is moving towards stability, we have seen 15 years of terrorism in which 70,000 Pakistanis have been killed.. Terrorism is on the decline.. Peace is on the horizon… why would we attack, how do we benefit?
I also want to ask India’s Prime Minister — if you are stuck in the past… whenever there’s an incident in Kashmir, you blame Pakistan. Instead of starting a dialogue to resolve the issue in Kashmir, you have made Pakistan the whipping boy. I have repeatedly said that this is the new Pakistan with a new mindset and a new thought process.
It is in our interest that we don’t want anyone from outside to spread terrorism in our country or any of our men spreading terrorism in another country. We want stability. So today I am offering the Indian government that they if they want to do any sort of investigation to probe Pakistani involvement in this, we are ready. If you have any actionable intelligence that a Pakistani was involved, give that information to us. I guarantee that I will take action. We won’t take this action because we feel pressured, we’ll do this because you are making an enemy of Pakistan. If somebody is using Pakistan’s land for terrorism, it’s against our interest.
Secondly, whenever we ask India to start a dialogue between the countries, India always has a precondition of discussing terrorism. I am telling you that we are ready to talk about terrorism. Terrorism is an issue of the entire region and we want it to end. Pakistan has suffered the most due to terrorism- 70,000 Pakistanis have died due to terrorism, we have suffered a loss of more than 100 million dollars. We are ready to talk to you.
Lastly I will say two things – There should be a new thought process in India. India should introspect, why the Kashmiri youth have reached a stage where they don’t fear death anymore. There must be some reason. Do you think one-dimensional oppression, torture and resolving issues through military is the solution? Do you think if it hasn’t worked till now, would it work in the future?
If after 17 years the world has realised that military is not the solution in Afghanistan and only dialogue would resolve issues, should India also not discuss this?
We are listening through Indian media where politicians are shouting that Pakistan should be taught a lesson, revenge should be taken and the attack should be avenged- Which law in the world gives power to an individual or a nation and permit them to become a judge, a jury and executioner? What justice system is this? It is your election year and we understand that during elections you will get a boost to teach Pakistan a lesson. If you think, you would launch any attack on Pakistan and we would not think of retaliating, Pakistan will retaliate.
Pakistan would not have any other choice but to give an answer. We know it is easy to start a war. It is in the hands of humans to start a war, however, to end the war isn’t in our hands. In which direction this will go, Allah knows better. Therefore, I hope better sense will prevail, we will use our intelligence and wisdom. We hope that like Afghanistan, this issue will also be resolved through dialogue.”