ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reiterated on Friday that it would not respond in kind to Indian aggression but vowed to defend its borders, waters and space against any attacks by the neighbouring country.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz presented policy statements in the National Assembly on Friday hinting that Pakistan was ready for talks with India provided that the Kashmir issue was included in the agenda.
They said the government was taking up the matter of Indian aggression along the Line of Control with the United Nations and the rest of the world to press India to stop the ongoing escalation in held Kashmir and along the LoC.
Several lawmakers urged the government to stop exercising restraint, saying that it would only embolden the Narendra Modi government in pressuring Pakistan on all fronts.
Policy statement given in NA, however, promises to defend Pakistan’s borders, waters and space
“We are ready for a dialogue with India if the Kashmir issue is included in [the agenda],” Mr Aziz said in his eight-minute-long speech on the floor of the house. Indian forces have defied all international norms by attacking an ambulance at the LoC, he said, adding that the attack, which claimed over 11 lives, had escalated the situation,
The adviser said that India wanted to divert the world’s attention away from the Kashmir issue where the situation worsened after the death of freedom fighter Burhan Wani.
“We held a meeting with representatives of P5 countries (permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) and wrote letters to their governments telling them that India was violating all international laws and killing innocent people in Kashmir and at the LoC…thus it should be condemned by the entire world,” he added.
He said Pakistan has actively taken the Kashmir cause forward since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif delivered his speech at the UN General Assembly. “It is an indigenous freedom movement…led by youths. We will continue [to offer] political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris,” he said.
Mr Aziz asked political parties to avoid scoring political points on the Kashmir and the LoC issue as it conveyed a wrong message to the rest of the world. Pakistan would give India a befitting response to any aggression in the border areas and would not come under pressure, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Asif said that India would face dire consequences if it went to war against Pakistan. “We will kill three Indian soldiers for every Pakistani soldier they kill.”
He said that India could not afford war but neither could it give [Kashmiris] their due right to self-determination, because [if it did] a dozen other independence movements would rise up in its wake.
The defence minister said that the Modi government was intentionally trying to intensify the situation at the LoC due to domestic compulsions and to win people’s support in the upcoming general elections.
He said Pakistan had credible evidence that India was behind terrorism in Pakistan. “We have sent dossiers and video films to the UN and other countries showing Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan,” he added.
India was scared that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would prove a game changer for Pakistan, said Mr Asif. “What it’s doing at LoC is meant to create hurdles in the way of CPEC. We might be economically weaker than India, but India knows that once the CPEC is complete, we will rise stronger,” he added.
Mr Asif said that Pakistan would not respond to India in kind, but would try to maintain a balance of power in the region.
MNA Naveed Qamar of the Pakistan Peoples Party said that Pakistan could not afford a tit-for-tat response to India as it was too weak to face the consequences. Indian aggression at the LoC was an attempt to isolate Pakistan from the rest of the world, he added.
The lawmaker said that India had its own economic worth as it exported to every state including China, the US, Russia and European countries. “It is exploiting its economic status,” he said.
He urged the government to revisit its foreign policy and improve ties with neighbouring countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
MNA Ijazul Haq informed the house that India had a 7km-wide buffer zone across the border where no civilian locality was allowed. However, Pakistan did not even have a 1km-wide buffer zone. He urged the government to teach India a lesson. The Indian high commissioner was summoned to the Foreign Office 16 times since the aggression began, but nothing came of it, he said.
MNAs Ayaz Soomro of the PPP and Muhammad Kamal of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement demanded that Pakistan forcefully respond to Indian attacks. “We are already in a state of war,” said Mr Kamal.
MNAs Musarrat Zeb, G.G. Jamal, Tahira Aurangzeb, Shahida Rehmani, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Sahibzada Tariq Ullah, Ghous Bux Mehr, Shiekh Salahuddin, Naeema Kishwar, Zahid Hamid, Mir Zaman and Tariq Fazal Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion.
Published in Dawn November 26th, 2016
Source:Tit-for-tat action against India ruled out