Pakistan Army warns India of ‘surprise response’ if war imposed

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan’s Army on Friday accused India of sending war threats and warned of a “surprise response” if New Delhi initiated any aggression amid heightened tensions between the two neighbours following the Kashmir suicide attack.

“Pakistan is not preparing for war. Threats and reports of a war are coming from your (India’s) side. We are only using our right to self defence,” said Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of the Pakistan Army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), told a press conference here.

His comments came a day after the UN Security Council in a show of unanimity condemned in the “strongest terms” the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF troopers and named the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the strike.

“We do not wish to go into war, but please rest assured that should you initiate any aggression…, Pakistan armed forces will never be surprised by you. But let me assure you, we shall surprise you.

“We can respond to full-spectrum threat… I hope you (India) get this message and don’t mess with Pakistan,” Ghafoor said.

Denying Pakistan’s role in the bombing, Ghafoor said that Islamabad “had nothing to gain from Pulwama attack” and added that the person responsible for the suicide bombing was a local who grew tired of “India’s high-handedness” in the Valley.

He called the Indian government to demand an explanation from its security forces before blaming Pakistan.

“The attack took place miles away from the Line of Control and the explosives used were not from Pakistan. The car used was not from Pakistan either. The attack was carried out by a youngster from Kashmir who was mistreated by Indian security forces.

“You should question your security forces, that ‘You’ve been sitting here for decades, you spend so much on defence, how was this infiltration possible?’,” he asked.

Ghafoor claimed that whenever there was supposed to be an important event in Pakistan or when the country was moving towards stability, then “there is always some sort of staged incident in either India or Kashmir” — also insinuating that these events happen around the time of Indian elections.

“People in Indian media and social media had predicted an attack like this prior to the (Indian general) elections,” he said.

Ghafoor added that India had been trying to isolate Pakistan diplomatically since 2016, but foreign dignitaries had been visiting the country despite that.

Despite his warning, he reiterated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer to New Delhi to investigate the attack, hold talks and eradicate terrorism from the region.

“The Prime Minister made an offer to India which has never been made before. We hope India will wisely consider Pakistan’s offer for peace.”

Khan had earlier sought from India “actionable intelligence” regarding the attack, which was termed by India as a “lame excuse”. IANS