Could've shot down Indian aircraft but chose to exercise restraint: AGP

Anwar Maqsood Khan says Aasia Bibi's documentation is in process of completion after which she is free to travel

Irfan Ghauri February 26, 2019
Anwar Maqsood Khan says Aasia Bibi's documentation is in process of completion after which she is free to travel.PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

BRUSSELS: Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Masood Khan said on Tuesday that Pakistan could have shot down Indian aircraft violating Pakistani airspace but chose to demonstrate restraint.

The Indian Air Force violated Pakistani airspace near the Line of Control Tuesday morning, but were chased away by Pakistan Air Force jets, which were immediately scrambled to thwart any aggressive move by the country’s eastern neighbour.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said its warplanes attacked a camp in Balakot, and a “very large number” of militants from the Jaish-e-Mohammad group were killed in the nighttime attack.

But both the Pakistan Army and the government rubbished Indian claims of the attack on Pakistani soil.

Khan, who is in Brussels meeting European Union representatives, exclusively spoke to The Express Tribune.

It’s your turn to get ready for surprise, Pakistan Army tells India

The AGP said he had shared Islamabad's view on how New Delhi had been spreading lies about the Pulwama attack. "The actual truth behind the incident has been shared," he said.

"It is virtually impossible for Pakistan to have had any hand in the Pulwama attack owing to how deep inside Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) the incident took place," he said, referring to the recent attack in the held territory which killed over 40 Indian paramilitaries.

The AGP said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had even offered to investigate the incident if any "actionable intelligence" was shared, adding that Islamabad wanted to resolve all issues with New Delhi via dialogue.

The AGP, however, warned that the desire for peace should not be misconstrued as weakness.

After Indian aggression, EU MP admits Pakistan’s right to respond but advises restraint

When asked about Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman acquitted by the top court of blasphemy charges last year, he said that, "her documentation is in process of completion after which she will be free to travel as she pleases".

"We have told them [The EU] that Pakistan can't abolish the death penalty entirely owing to circumstances in the country," Khan said, but added that the government wanted to use capital punishment at the bare minimum.

The AGP added that he was trying to resolve the country's issues regarding Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status by removing misconceptions the body had in this regard.

So far in his meetings, Khan added, he had touched upon a raft of issues with EU parliamentarians and chairmen of various committees.

The GSP status allows developing countries pay fewer or no duties on exports to the EU, giving them access to the EU market and contributing to their growth.


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