Media Briefing|

You get minute by minute news from the international media, especially Indian media. You have seen the public statements from India recently where a war frenzy has been created.

India has generated a war like situation. Statements have come out to promote war frenzy and adversely impact regional peace. I was concerned on this earlier and remain concerned today. I stress today because if you link what I am going to reveal now with prior Indian war hysteria you will appreciate the importance of the current situation. Modi government, has risked peace and stability of the whole region for politicking and electioneering

Indian media has reported extensively on the recent meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Defense which was presided over by the Indian Prime Minister and also attended by all 3 Indian service chiefs who stated that they are ready to act against Pakistan and only required a political nod. Responding, PM Modi said that he had granted them free hand and they had his permission already.

I am speaking of now.

This statement indicates India is taking escalation to a new level. PM Modi told his Service Chiefs that they are permitted and should act. The Indian chiefs said that they have already selected targets, which are military in nature and are not necessarily restricted to AJK, but can go beyond AJK. This is what’s happening. New military action against Pakistan is being announced by India. This is cause for attention and concern. I had said earlier in Multan that the clouds have not totally dissipated. Please note, I am speaking of the current situation.

It’s surprising that all this is said but no official denial is issued by India when it is reported. I would like to draw the attention of the Pakistani people, the international media and international community to lack of Indian denial of these statements. In my view this is a very dangerous game that is being played once again.

I would like to draw your attention to another fact of concern – Pakistan currently has, and I speak with responsibility, knowing full well that my statement will be covered by international press, Pakistan has reliable intelligence that India is hatching a new plan for aggression against Pakistan.This can happen in between 16-20 April. Between 16-20 April this new drama can be enacted. Additionally, a new incident like Pulwama may be staged in IoK. The aim is to use such an incident to increase diplomatic pressure on Pakistan and justify Indian aggression. Now, if this happens, god forbid, you can imagine it’s impact on regional peace and stability. Keeping this reliable intelligence in mind, MOFA immediately decided to brief P-5 Ambassadors. The Foreign Secretary appraised them of our concerns two days ago. She stressed that we want the international community to take notice of this irresponsible behavior and restrain India from embarking on this path.

After the Pulwama incident of 14 February, on 26 February, when India acted aggressively against Pakistan, violated Pakistani airspace and the LoC for the first time after 1971, Indian air force jets ventured into Pakistan, many responsible countries despite realizing this is a violation of international law and the UN Charter stayed silent due to geopolitics. The International community should keep the flash-point of this region in mind and should not keep silent. If they wish to see peace and stability in this region they cannot remain silent. They will have to, and should play their role.

Especially after Pulwama, the ongoing Indian human rights violations in IoK have now increased manifold. Use of force and torture has intensified. International community should not ignore it because if they do, peace and stability of South Asia can be impacted. I want to give the message through you that Pakistan consistently supports the peaceful political Kashmiri struggle. We believe it is their political and moral right which is being brutally repressed. When they raise their voice, Pakistan will continue to support their political and moral right to do so. No one should be surprised on this, we have in the past and shall continue to support Kashmiri victims in IoK.

The world has seen that Indian narrative and propaganda has been exposed. It’s not us but the international media which has exposed it. Modi government tried to gain Indian public sympathy on 3 accounts namely:

1.India alleged that it struck 3 terrorist camps inside Pakistan through surgical strikes. The world saw there were no terrorist camp. India failed to show any camp through satellite imagery. The world just saw 4 holes and some damaged trees due to Indian bombs, but the camps India claimed were not seen by anyone. They exposed India.

2.Their second allegation was targeting and killing more than 350 terrorists. They could not show even one dead body, could not provide footage of even one funeral, nor showed injured in hospitals.The reality of the second allegation was also exposed.

3.Their third allegation was that they shot down a PAF F-16 which Pakistan denied.You will recall that Pakistan immediately denied this story. Today, the world and now Foreign Policy magazine has reported, and US has verified, that no PAF F-16 was affected or shot down. The count is complete and verified. The third allegation also unraveled.

4.So now the popularity gain that the Indian Government wanted through Pulwama and the ensuing propaganda has backfired. After this embarrassing outcome, we have information that they are making new plans of aggression against Pakistan. This is very dangerous. According to our intelligence there is possibility of an Indian act of aggression against Pakistan between 16-20 April.

We have decided to share this information publically in order to appraise the international community, expose Indian-designs and keep Pakistanis informed. It is our government’s policy, to unveil the dangerous and aggressive policies being pursued by the Modi Government to the international community, as well as our own people.

The World knows that Pakistan adopted a responsible attitude. India behaved irresponsibly. Pakistan’s actions and statements were mature while Indian statements and narrative were irresponsible. Today the world acknowledges it. India has resorted to continuous firing and provocation at the LoC before and specially after the Pulwama incident. Pakistan is trying to resolve matters with great restraint yet our civilian population is being targeted. There have been casualties. I strongly condemn this aggression.

As you have seen, Indian attitude has been aggressive whereas Pakistan followed a conciliatory approach. Some examples I want to share with the world include the fact that India attacks Pakistan in unprovoked aggression. Pakistan Air Force, in defense, strikes down two of their jets and they target their own helicopter in panic which results in the death of six Indian soldiers. Pakistan unilaterally decided to hand over the captured Indian pilot in a goodwill gesture. The perception of pressure on Pakistan being created by India is totally wrong. Pakistan made this decision on its own. The message we wanted to India to know has already been conveyed that we will not tolerate any act of aggression against our territorial integrity and sovereignty. So, we decided to show a gesture of peace and goodwill to deescalate the situation by returning the captured Indian pilot. The world observed these developments closely and appreciated the conduct and the decision of Pakistan.

Pakistan decided to send its delegation to discuss the operationalization of the Kartarpur corridor to India even after this act of aggression. We were ready to send our delegation to New Delhi but they went to Attari on Indian request. As a result of this meeting, meaningful progress was made on the Kartarpur initiative of Pakistan and it was decided with mutual consent that next meeting will be held in Wahga, Pakistan on 2nd April to bring it to its logical conclusion. But, unfortunately India cancelled this meeting on flimsy grounds. If they wanted some information they could have requested for such information in the meeting scheduled on 2nd April. Pakistan was willing to listen and satisfy their concerns.

Despite this Pakistan has decided to release 360 Indian captives/fishermen unilaterally. Let the world see Pakistan’s attitude and the obstinate behavior of India and let them decide who wants peace and who has political desires from such activities.

I will conclude by saying that Pakistan wanted peace, and still wants peace. We said earlier, and I repeat – we have issues which require resolution. Jammu & Kashmir dispute, water issues, Sir Creek, economic relations, all these remain unresolved and Pakistan believes they should be resolved by dialogue. There is no other way. 2 nuclear powers connected by geography cannot think of any other way to resolve disputes – to even consider any other option would be in disclosure. That was my opinion yesterday. Despite the new plan of Indian aggression, I maintain this belief. I hope India will understand this and if it is willing to sit down, even after elections, (during elections I do not see them exhibiting the courage to talk) to resolve issues. I reiterate, Pakistan wishes to resolve all issues through dialogue and does not wish to adversely affect regional peace and stability. We want to collectively work towards economic prosperity of the region.

What I have said before you are very important. The serious audience will appreciate the depth and importance and would have understood what I wish to convey. I decided, after consultations with the PM that these facts should immediately be placed before the Pakistani people and the international community. Today is 7 April and our information is for 16-20 April window about which we have concerns. I thought I would share this important matter with you today in Multan.

Responding to a question, about the need for Pakistan to share this information about possible Indian aggression with US, China, Russia and other important countries, the FM reiterated that this had already been done. Foreign Secretary appraised the ambassadors of the P5 about the above and conveyed our concerns to them.

Responding to another question he stressed that Pakistan would not want India to repeat its earlier mistake of aggression. However, if India chose to do so, what would the nation want? What does international law say? Do we not have the right to self-defense or not? We absolutely reserve the right to self-defense. We are a vibrant nation.

Responding to another question, Foreign Minister stressed that the international community should certainly take notice of Indian aggression. The objective of the press briefing was to highlight the importance and sensitivity of the situation to the international community and to request them to play their role. It would be a grave oversight if they stayed silent.

The Foreign Minister also said that it was due to prayers of the Pakistani nation and the support they displayed that the morale of the Pakistani forces was strengthened. Every Pakistani is appreciative of the role played by Pakistani forces, especially the PAF and is proud of them. My message to the nation is that if god forbid there is aggression from India, we must stand united and convey the message that despite differences, we are united against any aggression. Secondly, the opposition may have differences, its natural in politics. I have tried earlier too in view of the National Action Plan to request the opposition to sit down with us and exchange views on matters of national security and defence and we should be on the same page. Politics and protest is their right but where national interest and national security comes up, you saw India is heading towards elections but when the all parties conference was called the entire opposition, including the Congress went and a joint statement was issued. I am sure our opposition will also respond positively when it comes to the country.

Responding to a question about the sitting with the opposition, FM said government had never refused to sit down with them. PM is the captain of the team. If it pertains to finance, Asad Omer is the expert. If it is security, Minister of Interior would take the lead. If it is foreign affairs, he would be the person on the front. Mr. Sharif, during his premiership, would negotiate with the opposition through Mr. Dar. I would never insist on not negotiating with him instead of the then PM. We need to focus on resolution of issues not faces.

Responding to a question about what compelled Pakistan to make goodwill gestures, including release if the pilot, flexibility on Kartarpur corridor, release of Indian prisoners etc. after the Pulwama incident when India remained inflexible FM stated that Indian attitude was unwise. The world wants stability and responsible behavior. US wants Pakistan to help on the western front. Ambassador Khalilzad appreciated Pakistan’s role just two days before in his visit. If they want Pakistan to help, why would want they want to divert Pakistan’s attention to the eastern front. How would this help the world. We need to make them realize that.

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