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“I wanted to take the nation into confidence over the developments since yesterday morning. We offered peace to India after what happened in Pulwama. I understood the pain of the families. I have visited hospitals and seen the pain of people affected by violence. We have lost 70,000 of our own and I know what those who are left behind and those who are injured feel.

We offered India that we would cooperate. It is not in Pakistan’s interest to let our land be used for terrorism. There is no dispute there. Yet, I had still feared that India would ignore the offer and still take action, and I had therefore warned India against aggression and said we will be compelled to respond because no sovereign country can allow that violation of its sovereignty.

When India struck yesterday morning, the army chief and I spoke. We did not respond in haste – we did not have a complete assessment of the damage cause and it would have been irresponsible on our part as it may have resulted in casualties on their side. Once we assessed the damage caused, we were ready to take action. The sole purpose of our action today was to convey that we have the capability to respond. If you can come into our territory, we can do the same. That was the only purpose of what we did. Two of their MiGs were shot down by Pakistani forces after they crossed over into our territory.

It is important where we go from here. From here, it is imperative that we use our heads and act with wisdom. All wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to. World War I was supposed to end in weeks, it took six years. Similarly, the US never expected the war on terrorism to last 17 years.

I ask India: with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford such a miscalculation? If this escalates, things will no longer be in my control or in Modi’s. I once again invite you: we are ready. We understand the grief India has suffered in Pulwama and are ready for any sort of dialogue on terrorism. I reiterate that better sense should prevail.

Let’s sit together and settle this with talks”.

27th February 2019

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