Pulwama Attack: Imran Khan Says Pakistan Will Retaliate if India Attacks, Demands Proof to Act
Accusing India of playing judge and jury, Pakistan PM Imran Khan said New Delhi blamed the Pulwama terror attack on Islamabad “without any proof”.
New Delhi: In what may further escalate tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said his country will retaliate if India launches military strikes in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
Accusing India of playing judge and jury, Khan said New Delhi had blamed the attack on Islamabad “without any proof”. The address comes a day after his government shot off a letter to the UN, seeking its urgent intervention to defuse tensions with India despite New Delhi repeatedly refusing third-party negotiations on the Kashmir issue in keeping with the Shimla Accord.
“Don’t think that Pakistan might not retaliate. We will retaliate if India attacks. Starting a war is easy and it can be done by humans. But only God knows how wars end,” Khan said in a televised speech.
Denying Pakistani link to the attack, he said, "What will Pakistan benefit from this? We as a nation are moving towards stability. Don't blame us."
Khan, however, said his government was willing to cooperate if India shared evidence and intel on the attack. "India blamed Pakistan without proof. We have lost lakhs of Pakistanis in our fight to maintain peace. Why will we jeopardise that?" He then said that if there is any intel against Pakistan, the country will give its full cooperation to the investigation.
Raking up the Kashmir issue again, Khan said, "India needs to realise that Kashmiri youth are no longer afraid of death. Your oppressive ways and use of military action has no effect on the Kashmir issue."
In the aftermath of the attack, India has revoked the most favoured nation status it had accorded to Pakistan unilaterally 23 years ago to further restrict trade between the two nations and the government has also raised the custom duties on imports from Pakistan to 200 per cent. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised that Pakistan will have to pay a price for the attack and warned that security forces have been given full freedom to retaliate.
The government is also in talks with the United States to push for the designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, but its efforts have not borne any fruits because of resistance from China. In efforts to isolate Pakistan diplomatically, the ministry of external affairs also met envoys of 25 nations in the capital to present its case on Pakistan’s hand in the Pulwama terror strike.
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