ISLAMABAD: As India tweaked the script of its ‘surgical strike’ drama on Friday, the government warned that no one would be allowed to cast an evil eye on Pakistan.
“I must make it clear that each and every person of this country is ready to defend the motherland. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with its brave armed forces,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said while chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet on Friday.
The cabinet convened a day after Indian military claimed that its special forces had carried out ‘surgical strikes’ to neutralise alleged terrorist launch pads on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC). The Pakistani military, however, said New Delhi rebranded a cross-LoC firing as surgical strikes ‘to create false effects’.
Sharif said his government desired to end poverty and unemployment in the country and achieve progress and prosperity for which he needed peace. But “our commitment to peace must not be construed as weakness”, he added. “In case of any aggression or violation of the LoC, Pakistan will take all necessary steps to protect its people and territorial integrity,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued after the cabinet meeting.
Sources in the Prime Minister House told The Express Tribune that the cabinet had two sessions. In the first session, participants exclusively discussed the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir and rising tensions with India, while economic, administrative, legislative and policy matters were taken up in the second session.
According to sources, the prime minister informed his cabinet members about a decision the civilian leadership and military command have jointly taken to intensify security procedures along the LoC to deal with an increasingly hostile India.
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry briefed the cabinet about the measures being taken by the government to counter Indian diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan by mobilising pro-Pakistan lobbies in Europe and the United States and by mustering support from the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The task has been assigned to Premier Sharif’s emissaries on Kashmir.
The meeting was reportedly of the view that aggressive diplomacy on Kashmir and Pakistan-India hostility would continue without compromising the military option to respond to any situation at the LoC. “Diplomacy will continue but not at the cost of the military option,” an insider said summing up what was discussed in the meeting.
Premier Sharif’s adviser Amir Muqam said the government was pursuing a policy of peace with its neighbours. “But India has started showing too much teeth. It’s high time its teeth were broken,” he told The Express Tribune.
According to the official statement, Premier Sharif said: “Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of Partition, which cannot be wished away.” The cabinet also deplored provocative statements of Indian leaders blaming Pakistan for the Sept 18 Uri attack without any evidence.
Premier Sharif has convened a meeting of the heads of parliamentary parties on Monday to brief them on the IOK and LoC situation. The move is a part of efforts to forge a “collective voice of all parliamentary parties in reiterating our moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for their right of self-determination.
The prime minister has also convened a meeting of the National Security Committee on Tuesday where all chief ministers have specially been invited to discuss Indian hostilities at the LoC, situation in IOK and implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism. A joint session of parliament will also convene on Wednesday to discuss the pressing issues.
In other business, the cabinet approved 28 agenda items, including measures to stop terror financing under NAP.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2016.
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