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Pakistan Rejects ‘Preemptive Strike’ Threat by Indian Army Chief

by Newsweek Pakistan

Courtesy Foreign Office of Pakistan

Foreign Office statement warns world such commentary appears designed to set stage for a ‘false flag’ operation

Pakistan on Wednesday rejected a statement issued by India’s new army chief in which he had claimed New Delhi has the right to ‘preemptively’ target sources of terror across the Line of Control.

In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said Pakistan condemns all such utterances from India’s political and military leaders, adding they were fabricating “facts regarding situation along the Line of Control as part of their attempts to mislead the world.” She reiterated the concerns of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan that such commentary appeared designed to set the stage for a “false flag operation.”

India army chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane had, on Tuesday, told the Press Trust of India news agency that India reserved the right to “preemptively strike” at sources of terror. He claimed this “new normal” in the country’s response mechanism to cross-border terrorism was already on display. “If Pakistan does not stop its policy of state-sponsored terrorism, we reserve the right to preemptively strike at the sources of terror threat and this intent has adequately been demonstrated in our response during surgical strikes and Balakot operation,” he said, in what has been widely perceived as a threat to Islamabad.

Farooqui, in her statement, said India should not perceive Pakistan’s desire for stability as a lack of resolve to thwart any aggressive Indian moves—whether they are within Pakistani territory or disputed Jammu and Kashmir. “No one should forget Pakistan’s befitting response to India’s Balakot misadventure,” she added.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that Islamabad would continue to work toward regional peace, security and stability regardless of any provocation from India. She also reaffirmed Pakistan’s “unflinching support and solidarity” with the residents of India-held Kashmir, which has been under virtual lockdown for 150 days. “Pakistan will continue to raise the plight of Kashmiris at all international forums,” she said, adding there would be not let up in Islamabad urging the global community to act against India’s state-sanctioned ‘terrorism’ against the Kashmiri people.

Farooqui slammed India’s “farcical claims of normalcy” returning to India-held Kashmir, saying such statements lacked credibility in the absence of independent coverage of the situation.

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