PM to Modi: 'Let better sense prevail'

Imran reiterates offer of dialogue to Indian govt


Our Correspondent February 27, 2019
PHOTO: RADIO PAK

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As escalating tensions fuelled concerns of all-out war between nuclear-tipped Pakistan and India on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of catastrophic consequences should "better sense" not prevail.

"We have said that we are prepared for dialogue on terrorism. I once again invite India to come to the negotiating table," the prime minister said in a televised address to the nation hours after two Indian warplanes were shot down by Pakistani fighter jets in Pakistani airspace.

"Can we afford any miscalculation with the kind of weapons that we have and you have?" the prime minister said, alluding to the nuclear arsenal of both the countries and asking: "If escalation begins from here, where will it go?" He added that if the situation escalates from here, "it will not be in my or Modi's control".

The prime minister talked about the horrors of World War I & II which he said were the result of 'miscalculation' and lingered for months and years piling misery on humanity. "Nobody had realised where the wars will go," he added.

It would never have crossed the mind of US military strategists that the war against terrorism in Afghanistan would continue to rage for 17 years, he said while referring to the longest, deadliest and costliest war in American history.

The Indian jets were shot down a day after India Air Force planes recklessly violated Pakistan's airspace and dropped payloads in a mountainous Pakistani village and Delhi dubbed it "air strike on the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant group" in Pakistan.

The Pakistani military exposed India's fictitious claim and invited "anyone and everyone – including foreign diplomats, military attaches and UN military observers" – to visit the area where the Indian aircraft dropped bombs and see if any training camp existed there.

Though the Indian bombs did not cause any major damage or casualties, Pakistan vowed to retaliate against the flagrant violation of its airspace, fuelling fears of a disastrous confrontation in the region.

"No country can allow another country to carry out action in its territory," the prime minister said, adding that he had spoken to the army and air force chiefs after the Indian 'uncalled-for aggression' but decided to wait before retaliation as "we didn't have complete details of damage or casualties.

"We only wanted to let India know that we can also carry out air strikes. We also wanted to show our capability," Premier Imran said of Wednesday's air strikes by Pakistan Air Force (PAF). "Two Indian jets violated our airspace and we shot them down."

Tensions escalated dramatically between Pakistan and India on February 14 when a young man – a native of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) – rammed an explosives-laden car into an Indian military convoy, killing 44 soldiers.

The JeM purportedly claimed credit for the deadly attack, but India was quick to blame the state of Pakistan where, according to Delhi, the militant group is headquartered. Premier Imran offered every possible help in investigation, but India turned down the offer and instead whipped up war hysteria.

"After the Pulwama attack we offered India that we are ready for any type of investigation. There were casualties in Pulwama and I can relate to the emotions as we [Pakistanis] have seen such attacks in the past decade. We understand how the victims would feel," the prime minister said.

"We said it is not in our favour that Pakistan's soil is used [by any terrorist group]. There was no dispute. We were ready to cooperate," he added and regretted that the Narendra Modi administration chose the warpath instead of dialogue.

"We should sit and talk out our issues. Let better sense prevail," the prime minister said at the end of his brief speech while directly addressing the Modi administration.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the National Command Authority, which controls the country's strategic assets, where the situation arising from Indian aggression was discussed.

Attendees at the meeting included three services chiefs, chairman joint chiefs of staff, heads of intelligence agencies, as well as ministers for foreign affairs, defence, finance and defence production.

The director general of the Strategic Plans Division presented a briefing on Pakistan's nuclear capability.

The meeting participants expressed full confidence in the command and control system of the country's strategic assets, while the military leadership briefed the meeting on the operational preparedness of the armed forces.

According to sources, the meeting decided that Pakistan would not be the first to carry out any attack, but if India tries to impose war, then Pakistan would effectively respond.

The prime minister lauded Pakistan Air Force for Wednesday's action and expressed full confidence in the capabilities of the armed forces. "We do not harbour aggressive designs against any country but we reserve the right to defend ourselves," he said.

 

(With additional reporting by Rizwan Ghilzai)

 

COMMENTS (3)

Nadir Sadiq | 2 years ago | Reply This is what we wanted. India should not venture into our air space and if they do they do not go back, atleast on their hardware. Way to go Pakistan Armed forces......
Melhotra | 2 years ago | Reply I simply love you Imran Khan Sir. You are a cool headed sensible fellow
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