Foreign minister echoes military statement that India is trying to divert attention from unrest over citizenship law
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday warned India against “any misadventure” at the Line of Control, saying Pakistan’s armed forces were ready to deliver a befitting response.
“In case of any aggression or false flag operation by India, our armed forces are ready to effectively thwart it,” he said in a video message shared by the Foreign Ministry. Slamming the “highly irresponsible” statement of Indian Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat, in which the military official hinted at military escalation along the Line of Control dividing the parts of Kashmir under Pakistani and Indian control, Qureshi said “we are peaceful nation, but our desire for peace should not be taken as weakness.”
He said Pakistan’s intelligence agencies had noticed extraordinary movement on the Indian side of Line of Control in recent weeks. This, he added, clearly indicated India’s nefarious designs.
The foreign minister reminded India of the events of Feb. 27, when the Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian fighter jets—and captured a downed pilot—that had crossed over into Pakistani territory. “The entire nation will stand with armed forces and uphold the ideology and geography of Pakistan and Kashmir,” he added.
Qureshi also echoed the statement of Pakistan Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor from a day earlier, saying India might escalate the situation in Kashmir to divert global attention from a controversial citizenship law that had provoked unrest and was seen to be targeting minorities, particularly Muslims.
During his video message, the foreign minister said he had already sent seven letters to the U.N. Security Council, drawing its attention to India’s abuses in the region, including 3,000 LoC violations, and 300 casualties of unarmed civilians. He also expressed concern over a fresh deployment of Indian security forces along the LoC, as well as the installation of BrahMos missiles in India-held Kashmir. A series of missile tests conducted by India from August onwards proved Delhi’s serious threat to regional stability, he added.