LAHORE: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said that all stakeholders, including some world powers, were on board as Pakistan decided to release Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.
Rashid claimed during a press conference here on Saturday that India initially planned to fire rockets on all important airports of Pakistan, but the armed forces were ready to stop such attacks.
“This is the difference of leadership; Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, thinks after action whereas Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan thinks ahead.”
He added that the opposition, armed forces and government, as well as the United States, China and Turkey were on board when the country decided to hand over the pilot back to India.
“Every inch of Indian territory is in range of our missiles as our technology is superior,” warned the railways minister.
He further said that Indian Prime Minister Modi has been badly exposed before the world after the recent incidents as he neither has the intelligence level of Gandhi or Nehru nor of Vajpayee and his adventure has resulted in declining investments in India and damaged his image in the world.
The Awami Muslim League chief said some people, including some opposition leaders, were opposing the government’s decision, but former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had also sent back an Indian pilot a few days after the Kargil war.
“Currently Imran and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa are on one page, however, the situation was different during the Kargil conflict,” he said.
Rashid added the attack on Taj Mahal hotel back in 2009 was a much bigger issue than Pulwama attack, however, the premier has played a great stroke and placed himself among those deserving the Nobel Peace Prize.
As per the minister, the Indian Air Force is around four times bigger than PAF in size. “PAF’s level is much higher when it comes to quality, not quantity, and India knows it well.” He said after the shooting down of Indian fighter planes, disappointment and frustration was “evident from their face and body language”.
Talking about the Kashmir issue, Rashid said Kashmiris don’t need Pakistan’s support as they are now fighting for freedom on their own.
“The Kashmir issue has once again become a hot topic due to this incident. I am not in favour of war as I believe that war is the result of failed foreign policies but if it happens this would be the last and final war between the two neighbouring countries and this will be due to the Kashmir issue,” he added.
“Every child of Kashmir is ready for martyrdom,” he went on to say. He appreciated Pakistan’s media for covering all the incidents responsibly, while criticising Indian media for promoting warmongering between the two countries.
Samjhauta Express to resume
Meanwhile, the railways minister has announced that the Samjhauta Express train service will resume its operations according to schedule.
He said an emergency has been declared in Pakistan Railways and it has sufficient stock of fuel to meet at least one month’s requirements. He warned India against creating instability in the region and asserted, “India is well aware of military capability of Pakistan and its air force.”
He expressed annoyance over Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Khurshid Shah’s criticism against PM Imran Khan and said, “We can capture their pilot anytime.” He announced that the prime minister will inaugurate the VIP Jinnah Express on March 20.