War of words: Pakistan will fully respond to any aggression, says Khawaja Asif

Published: October 10, 2014
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A Pakistani military official told The Express Tribune that security forces were only responding to the ‘unprovoked’ firing from the Indian side. PHOTO: AFP

A Pakistani military official told The Express Tribune that security forces were only responding to the ‘unprovoked’ firing from the Indian side. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD / NEW DELHI: 

Islamabad and New Delhi engaged in a war of words on Thursday after another two civilians were killed on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC) as border clashes continued between the two neighbours.

Hours after Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley warned Pakistan that it would be made to pay an ‘unaffordable’ price if the clashes continued, his Pakistani counterpart insisted that Pakistan will respond to any Indian aggression. However, unlike Jaitley, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif added a reconciliatory note to his statement, saying, “We don’t want to convert the border tension between two nuclear-armed neighbours into confrontation.” The Pakistani defence minister urged New Delhi to act ‘in a responsible manner’.

“I don’t need to speak, our guns will do it. We have responded with courage to ceasefire violations,” Modi said at a campaign rally on Thursday, replying to opposition criticism that he had not been vocal during the crisis. Both sides have denied responsibility for the clashes. A Pakistani military official told The Express Tribune that security forces were only responding to the ‘unprovoked’ firing from the Indian side.

Meanwhile, Jaitley claimed that Pakistan was responsible for the surge in violence along the Line of Control and working boundary. “If Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable,” Jaitley told journalists in New Delhi. “Pakistan should stop this unprovoked firing and shelling if it wants peace on the border.”

Jaitley added that his country had a “duty to defend its people”, as he accused Pakistan of trying to “precipitate tension where none exists.” Border Security Force (BSF) sources claimed Pakistani Rangers targeted 50 border outposts and 35 hamlets overnight along the 192-km boundary.

The escalation has triggered an exodus, with 16,000 people moving to safe areas from border villages. Indian forces have been asked to retaliate and reject talks until all firing stops, according to top government sources.

Pakistan’s Major General Khan Tahir Javed Khan, responsible for the section of the border where the violence has broken out, said that India had fired 20,000 shells so far this year, compared to just 200 in 2012. He also said he had been trying to meet his Indian counterpart since the exchanges of fire began, but they would not return his calls.

Jaitley’s warning came a day before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to meet with the military leadership regarding deteriorating ties with India. Sources told The Express Tribune that the government will seek to de-escalate tension and resolve the issue through dialogue. However, civil and military leaders are expected to reaffirm their resolve to defend the country against any aggression.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday directed the administration to take all requisite measures for ensuring safety of life of the people in areas hit by shelling. “Food, temporary shelter, transportation, medical facilities and supply of drinking water should be made available at the camps,” Omar said while meeting via video conferencing with the divisional commissioner, inspector general and deputy commissioner of Jammu.

Twenty four temporary camps have been established in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts and over 7,000 people are residing in these camps.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Arun Iyengar
    Oct 10, 2014 - 4:36AM

    Hardly three months ago, Indian Prime Minister Modi cordially invited Pakistan PM Nawaz Shariff for his swearing-in ceremony in Delhi. Modi didn’t have to, but he did. His intention was clearly amity between the two countries.

    Now – would India turn around and be aggressive against Pakistan? Without any provocation? The idea itself is preposterous.

    It is evident that Pakistan is testing the limits of the newly installed Indian leadership, just as an immature teenager would, of his parents. As a patient parent would, India is responding in kind, to make Pakistan understand it means business.

    Pakistan – please grow up. Join hands with India to create peace in South Asia.

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  • Kalkhande
    Oct 10, 2014 - 5:50AM

    War of words has been taken over by bullets now. Modi has said very clearly that this time soldiers will do the talking. Expect bullet lit bright sky on Diwali and beyond. Pakistan started the fire work, India will decide when to stop. Be prepared for larger and larger range of fire power.

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  • #1 Job
    Oct 10, 2014 - 6:09AM

    Ok ok ok! E.T! We have clear understand now who’s side you’re on. After all you’re an international paper owned and operated by a foreign land. We were just fool to think you’re are Pak paper like other Pak papers.

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  • Haider
    Oct 10, 2014 - 8:32AM

    Finally someone from government spoke I hope PM should have taken a stand rather than his business in India

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  • Pakistani
    Oct 10, 2014 - 10:57AM

    The news clearly indicates that the Indian side is acting irresponsibly and is not willing to resolve the issue through dialogue.

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