Pulwama attack: Imran Khan thunders, India says his words ring hollow

By: |
February 20, 2019 12:56 AM

The MEA reiterated its demand that Pakistan should stop misleading the international community and take credible and visible action against the perpetrators of Pulwama terrorist attack.

Imran Khan thunders, India says his words ring hollowImran Khan thunders, India says his words ring hollow

IN his first statement five days after the Pulwama terrorist attack, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday gave a sharp warning that Pakistan will “retaliate” if India launches attacks to avenge the February 14 Pulwama strike.

In a six-minute video message, Khan’s tone and language was seen in Delhi as quite unusual for a democratically elected leader in Pakistan in the recent past.

Neither did he condemn the single bloodiest terrorist attack in Kashmir in the last three decades of militancy not did he mention Jaish-e-Mohammed or its chief Maulana Masood Azhar by name.

This despite the fact that the Jaish claimed responsibility after a vehicle, driven by local resident Adil Dar, rammed into a CRPF bus killing 40 security personnel.

In a prepared statement on Pakistan Television, Khan said that Pakistan was ready to cooperate in the Indian investigation and will take action, if Delhi provides any “actionable intelligence”. He also proposed a dialogue to discuss terrorism and raised the issue of Kashmir, something which has been part of every Pakistan leader’s playbook in the recent years.

New Delhi, however, did not respond to the threat by the Pakistan PM on the retaliatory action to India’s military options. Giving a point-by-point rebuttal, the Ministry of External Affairs, in a carefully crafted statement, challenged Khan’s assertions.

READ ALSO | How Flipkart, Amazon may bring deep discounts back to e-commerce

Calling his offer to probe a “lame excuse,” the MEA said: “Disclaiming any link between the terrorist attack and Pakistan is an oft-repeated excuse by Pakistan. The Pakistani Prime Minister has ignored claims made by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, as well as by the terrorist, who perpetrated this heinous crime…It is a well-known fact that Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan. These should be sufficient proof for Pakistan to take action.”

Khan, who spoke at 1.30 pm IST on Tuesday, said, “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 permits them to become judge, 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, 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 war isn’t in our hands. In which direction this will go, Allah knows better. Therefore, I hope better sense will prevail, will use our intelligence and wisdom,” he said, hoping that like Afghanistan, this issue will be resolved through dialogue.”

The Pakistan PM said, “You have blamed Pakistan for the attack without any evidence… Would Pakistan, currently hosting such an important conference (an investment conference timed with the visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) …would anyone, even a fool, do this which would result in a sabotage of such an important conference? Why would we attack, how do we benefit?”

Proposing an investigation, Khan said, “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.”

The MEA countered this with the Mumbai terror attack example, “In the horrific attack in Mumbai on 26/11, proof was provided to Pakistan. Despite this, the case has not progressed for the last more than 10 years. Likewise, on the terror attack on Pathankot airbase, there has been no progress. Promises of ‘guaranteed action’ ring hollow given the track record of Pakistan.”

Proposing a dialogue on terrorism, the Pakistan PM said, “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.”

“Pakistan’s Prime Minister has called for dialogue and expressed his readiness to talk about terrorism. India has repeatedly stated that it is ready to engage in a comprehensive bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror and violence,” the MEA countered.

Khan said, “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?”

New Delhi rebutted this saying that Pakistan claims to be the greatest victim of terrorism. “This is far from truth. The international community is well acquainted with the reality that Pakistan is the nerve center of terrorism,” it said.

Responding to Khan’s criticism that this is an “election year” and “during elections the ruling party will get a boost to teach Pakistan a lesson”, New Delhi said: “It is regrettable that the Pakistani Prime Minister has insinuated that India’s response to the terrorist attack is determined by the forthcoming General Election. India rejects this false allegation. India’s democracy is a model for the world which Pakistan would never understand.”

The MEA reiterated its demand that Pakistan should stop misleading the international community and take credible and visible action against the perpetrators of Pulwama terrorist attack.

Khan raised the issue of Kashmir: “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.”

“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?” he said.

The MEA took a potshot at the Pakistan PM saying he had referred to “Naya Pakistan” with new thinking. “In this “Naya Pakistan”, Ministers of the current Government publicly share platforms with terrorists like Hafeez Saeed who have been proscribed by the United Nations, it said.

Days after the terror strike, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said security forces have been given free hand to avenge the attack.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Over 24,000 children died by suicide from 2017 to 2019: NCRB data
2Pegasus issue: SC to hear on Aug 5 pleas seeking probe into snooping allegations
3Over Rs 15.8 crore spent on advertisements about Pusa bio-decomposer: Delhi govt to Assembly