ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced to release the captured Indian pilot tomorrow as a peace gesture.
Making a policy statement at the joint sitting of the parliament in Islamabad on Thursday, the Prime Minister said this is a first step to open negotiations and deescalating the situation.
Prime Minister urged the international community to play its due role in defusing the crisis like situation between Pakistan and India as any conflict between the two nuclear armed neighbors could lead to devastating consequences.
He, however, warned that any escalation on part of India will force Pakistan to retaliate in self-defense. He said Pakistan is a peace loving country and desires peace and stability in the region.
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 miscalculation. War is not a solution. If India takes any action, we will have to retaliate,” PM Khan 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,” he remarked.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan is making efforts to deescalate the current tension. He said that he also tried to contact the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday.
He said that he will also talk to the Turkish President later today to ask him to play his role in the reduction of tension He said the foreign minister also contacted with other world leaders on the current situation.
The Prime Minister however made it clear that our desire for de-escalation should not be misconstrued as our weakness. He pointed out that our armed forces are battle hardened and they are fully prepared to respond to any aggression.
The Prime Minister said that the entire Pakistani nation is united in the face of external threat. He also commended other political, parties for showing unity at this critical juncture.
Imran Khan said tension in relations between Pakistan and India is because of the long-pending issue of Kashmir. He said India needs retrospect as to why a 19-year old becomes a suicide bomber. He said an indigenous movement is going on in Occupied Kashmir and India is committing oppression to subdue Kashmiris’ struggle.
He said the entire public of Occupied Kashmir has turned against India due to its oppressive tactics. He said I believe that there should be a debate within India to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and to end war mongering against Pakistan.
Imran Khan said it is unfortunate that India media is also adding fuel to the fire by creating war hysteria. He appreciated Pakistani media for playing a responsible role in the current situation.
The Prime Minister once again stated that Pakistan has nothing to gain from Pulwama incident, especially when Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was paying an official visit to the country, during which several investment agreements had to be signed.
He said we had also offered investigation into the incident if provided with actionable intelligence.
The Prime Minister recalled that Pakistan has prepared a consensus National Action Plan to eliminate terrorism in which commitments have been made that armed militias will not be allowed any space. Instead of giving evidence, the Indian side resorted to war mongering and created war hysteria. He said today we received a dossier from India, which should have been shared just after the Pulwama incident.
Imran Khan said Pakistan understands that India is pursuing the path of tension out of political compulsions.
Referring to the response of Pakistan following Indian airspace violation, the Prime Minister said it was only aimed at showing Pakistan’s capability and will to defend the motherland.
He said we did not hit any target and our actions avoided collateral damage and civilian causalities. He said Pakistan shot down two Indian jets, when they tried to intercept our planes.
Stressing the importance of dialogue, Imran Khan said world’s most power country, the United States is also holding dialogue with Afghan Taliban and Pakistan is facilitating these talks. He said India should also come to the dialogue table and resolve issues through talks and in a peaceful manner.
Alluding to the peace overtures made by his government to India, the Prime Minister said that he had offered that Pakistan will take two steps if India takes one towards peace, but the other side did not reciprocate in a positive manner.
He said he had also offered opening of Kartarpur Corridor with the aim to lower the tension and head towards improvement in relations. He said the message emanating from the other side on this initiative, following the Pulwama incident is not encouraging.
Meanwhile, Talking to a private television channel on Thursday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to telephone his Indian counterpart Narandra Modi to defuse tension between Pakistan and India.
He said Imran Khan is ready to talk with Indian Prime Minister Modi. He said we are showing utmost restraint, but it is up to India to de-escalate tension in the region. He questioned is Modi ready to talk with Imran Khan to ease tension?
Showing goodwill gesture, Shah Mehmood Qureshi also offered return of Indian pilot captured on Wednesday if it helps to normal situation between the two countries.
He said the Indian belligerent attitude will put the peace in South Asia in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday hailed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement of releasing IAF’s arrested Pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Expressing his views with an Indian news agency ANI, Singh said he is very happy that Wing Commander Abhinandan will be released by Pakistan as a peace gesture and added he demanded his release earlier too.
“This is going to be a step towards goodwill and I hope this will be lasting,” he said. – NNI