Foreign minister’s revelation

Qureshi says Islamabad has ‘reliable intelligence’ India will attack again

Editorial April 08, 2019

It appears the war clouds hanging over the subcontinent have not drifted away completely, even after the aerial dogfight of February 27 punctured a hole in New Delhi’s inflated ego and military bombast.

Some sense of it is gathered from what Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had to reveal on Sunday. Islamabad has ‘reliable intelligence’ that India will attack again this month, said Qureshi.

The attack could take place between April 16 and 20, he said, adding that Pakistan had told the five permanent members of the UN Security Council of its concerns. Pakistan had also summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner to protest against any ‘misadventure’, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said in a Tweet.

A suicide car bombing in Indian-occupied Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police on Feb. 14 and the risk of conflict rose spectacularly on Feb. 27, when India launched an air strike on what it said was a militant training base.

The following day Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured one of its pilots, who was subsequently released as a gesture of goodwill. ‘We have reliable intelligence that India is planning a new attack on Pakistan.

As per our information this could take place between April 16 and 20,’ Qureshi told reporters in Multan. The minister also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had agreed to share the information with the country. This bit of news should be read with a sense of alarm, especially given the Bharatia Janata Party (BJP)’s propensity to whip up war hysteria with Pakistan ahead of the general election to lift its fortunes at the ballot box.

This is precisely what Pakistani leadership had been pointing out all this while as tensions spiked post-Pulwama. But military posturing, even just for brightening a party’s electoral chances, can exact a heavy toll on the people of the two countries. Warmongering can ignite animal spirits. They can just as easily explode. Once hostilities break out, it is not so easy to contain the conflict. It’s, therefore, in everyone’s interest that better sense prevails across the border.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2019.

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