Imran, Pak army hint another Pulawama is being plotted

Pak army prepared to 'go to any extend' for Kashmiris: Gen Bajwa
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. File photo
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Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has reacted sharply to the Monday's developments in Jammu and Kashmir insisting that with an approach like this, "incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again", the Dawn reported.

"I can already predict this will happen. They will attempt to place the blame on us again. They may strike us again, and we will strike back," Khan told his country's Parliament on Tuesday.

"What will happen then? They will attack us and we will respond and the war can go both ways... But if we fight a war till we shed the last drop of our blood, who will win that war? No one will win it and it will have grievous consequences for the entire world. This is not nuclear blackmail," he added.

Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday to discuss the country's future course of action in the wake of India's decision to revoke Article 370 of its Constitution, stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, Khan said that his government's priority was to improve relations with all of Pakistan's neighbours because it was vital to improve the country's economic situation.

"When I first reached out to India, they expressed concerns that there were militant outfits operating from Pakistan. I told (Narendra) Modi that after the grave and painful tragedy of the Army Public School massacre, all our political parties had resolved to never let the territory of Pakistan be used for terrorist activities. But I got the feeling that the Indian side was not serious about talks. When we went to Bishkek, my suspicions regarding their unwillingness to speak was strengthened."

According to the newspaper, the Pakistan Premier said: "I soon realised that India was not interested in talking to us. They took our overtures for peace as weakness, so we stopped extending offers to hold talks.

"Then Pulwama happened. Thank God our Air Force responded in the way it did. We shot down their pilot, but returned him immediately to send the message that we did not want war. We resolved that we would not move forward on talks over Kashmir till after the (Indian) elections. The elections happened.

"What happened yesterday has only confirmed my suspicion (about India's unwillingness to talk). This is not a decision they (the BJP) have taken out of the blue. It was part of their election manifesto all along. It is, in fact, ingrained in their ideology that puts Hindus above all other religions and seeks to establish a state that represses all other religious groups."

"What they did in Kashmir is in accordance with their ideology. They have a racist ideology," he declared.

"They have violated their own country's and international laws to (uphold) their ideology.

"They will now crack down even harder on the Kashmiri people. They will try to suppress the Kashmiri resistance with brute force. I fear that they may initiate ethnic cleansing in Kashmir to wipe out the local population.

"With an approach of this nature, incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again. I can already predict this will happen. They will attempt to place the blame on us again. They may strike us again, and we will strike back.

"What will happen then? They will attack us and we will respond and the war can go both ways... But if we fight a war till we shed the last drop of our blood, who will win that war? No one will win it and it will have grievous consequences for the entire world. This is not nuclear blackmail.

"We want the global leadership to take note. My party and I are taking the responsibility to approach the leaders of the world and apprise them of what is happening in Kashmir. I know the Western world, and I feel like they are not sufficiently aware of what is happening in Kashmir. I will inform them that what the Indian government is doing in Kashmir and what it is doing to Muslims and minorities in India goes against everything the Western world believes in," he said.

The joint session of upper and lower houses was summoned by President Arif Alvi to decide Pakistan's future course of action in the wake of India's decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under Article 370, the paper reported.

But the session was disrupted soon after due to protest from opposition lawmakers who pointed out that the resolution, moved by Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati condemning India's "illegal actions" in "occupied Kashmir", did not specifically mention Article 370 of the Indian constitution.

'Prepared to go to any extent'

Meanwhile, Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday said that his troops are prepared to "go to any extent" to help Kashmiris, a day after the Indian government revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision to take away Jammu and Kashmir's special status and treat it like any other state in India is aimed at the ending the decades old separatist movement in the Valley.

Pak army prepared to 'go to any extend' for Kashmiris: Gen Bajwa

Gen Bajwa presided over the Corps Commanders Conference, which is the highest decision making forum of the army, held at General Headquarters on a single point agenda of Kashmir.

"Pakistan army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end. We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations...," Gen Bajwa told the army commanders.

In a statement, the army said that the forum fully supported the Pakistan Government's "rejection of Indian actions" regarding Kashmir.

Pakistan never recognised Article 370 of the Indian Constitution or 35-A which have now been revoked by New Delhi itself, the army said.

Senior US diplomat arrives in Pakistan

Alice Wells, a senior US diplomat, on Tuesday arrived here to hold key bilateral talks with Pakistani leaders on issues like the peace process in Afghanistan amid reports that she might also hold discussions over the current situation in Kashmir.

Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs would stay in Pakistan for few days for the talks, according to the US embassy.

The US Embassy in Islamabad welcomes Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia! Looking forward to a great few days during her visit, the embassy tweeted.

Wells met Minister for State and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi and discussed the matters related to Afghan refugees.

The visit of US official to Pakistan coincide with the 8th round of talks between Taliban and the US in Doha.

Diplomatic sources said that Wells would also hold parleys with Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood.

Though talks are expected to focus on Afghanistan but the situation of Kashmir will also be discussed, they said.

(With PTI inputs)

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