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Do not misconstrue Pakistanís desire for de-escalation as weakness: Imran Khan

01 March, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: “Do not misconstrue Pakistan’s desire for de-escalation as weakness,” the prime minister asserted while addressing a joint parliamentary session here at the Parliament House. “I address the Indian government: do not force us for retaliation. We are prepared for any eventuality and response. I beseech India not to force us down the path of war,” he said.

Presenting a tribute to the opposition and the entire nation for standing united during the difficult time, he again urged India not to go beyond this point of aggression as all issues should be resolved through dialogue. “Countries are ruined because of miscalculations. War is not a solution. If India takes any action, we will have to retaliate,” he vehemently said. “The only purpose of our strike was to demonstrate our capability and will. We did not want to inflict any casualty on India as we wanted to act in a responsible manner. I had already said that if India did something, then we would definitely respond,” he said.

Referring to February 14 Pulwama attack, the prime minister regretted that Pakistan was blamed within 30 minutes of the incident. “I am not saying India is involved in Pulwama attack, but tell us how it can benefit Pakistan?” he questioned, while recalling series of important events scheduled in Pakistan during the same period of time. “We did ask India to give evidences and assured them of taking action, but rather than providing proofs, India started warmongering,” he lamented. “Despite our offers for dialogue on a number of occasions, India never responded positively,” he continued, while recounting his July 26 address and a letter to the United Nations inviting the Indian prime minister for peace talks.

“The invitation of dialogue was given in the view of rising poverty in the South Asian region,” Imran said. He maintained that the current Pak-India tension is because of Kashmir issue. “At one point, Kashmiri leaders did not want separation. But owing to Indian brutalities, today all they demand is independence,” he said. “For how long will Pakistan be blamed for everything in Kashmir?” he asked.

“I want to tell this House: Pakistan desires peace. Pakistan intends to work for poverty alleviation, investment, and job creation. Indians are terming recent attacks in Kashmir as Islamic radicalism. If you remember, most suicide attacks were carried out by Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka,” he said.

The prime minister also appreciated Pakistani media and noted that Indian media was busy creating war hysteria in their country. “However, our media showed solidarity and acted responsibly,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said India will have to give Kashmiris their right to self-determination. “Wars are no solution to any issue as after all you have to sit on the table in the end,” he said. “It is not the first time that Pakistan-India escalation has taken place … we have fought several wars in the past and wasted our resources,” he said, and stressed that the Kashmir conflict should be resolved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Lauding the Pakistan Air Force for its robust response to the Indian aggression and its violation of the Line of Control (LoC), Shehbaz said the valour exhibited by the Pakistan’s armed forces has established that they are capable of protecting every nook and corner of the country. He said it is an open secret that Narendra Modi was a terrorist who had been involved in the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat. “Several countries had even banned Modi’s entry in the past,” he recalled.

Former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism. “War is itself a problem … it is not a solution to the problems,” he said, and added that more than 80,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives due to terrorism.

Ghaus Baksh Mehr of the Grand Democratic Alliance said all the political parties are united at this critical juncture and stand by the armed forces of Pakistan. He said India should act responsibly as war between two nuclear countries will have disastrous consequences for the region.

Leader of the Opposition in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said Pakistan should forcefully raise the longstanding Kashmir dispute at all the international forums besides unmasking the maltreatment being meted out to the minorities including Muslims in India.

Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid said India has hegemonic designs in the region and is resorting to provocations to establish its hegemony. He commended the Pakistan Air Force for shooting down two Indian aircraft, saying the PAF is far superior to the Indian Air Force as it has indigenously developed JF-17 fighter jets.

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