Pakistan ready to talk, but ‘will retaliate’ if India moves to avenge deadly terror attack – PM
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As New Delhi claims Islamabad had a hand in a car bombing which killed dozens of Indian soldiers last week, Pakistani PM Imran Khan says he is willing to cooperate, but issued a dire warning against India taking unilateral action.
“Don’t think that Pakistan might not retaliate. We will retaliate if India attacks. Starting a war is easy and it can be done by humans. But only God knows how wars end,” Khan cautioned during his televised address Tuesday.
In spite of the stern warning, Khan made it clear that Islamabad was ready to work with New Dehli in an “open and credible investigation.” India, however, has been insistent the Pakistani government played a role in Thursday’s attack which targeted a large convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Indian-held Kashmir. Khan rebuked the “absurd” allegations, saying they were made “without any evidence or thought.”
Claiming to have “incontrovertible evidence is available of (Pakistan) having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident,” India has already taken diplomatic and economic actions aimed at “completely isolating” their former-favored trade partner.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing a general election in May, which has put him under intense pressure to answer public outrage over the horrific incident. At a press conference following the bombing, he announced that the time for dialogue was over, promising swift action against terrorism and “those who support it.”
The dastardly attack in Pulwama has anguished the nation.
Yes, this is a time of great sadness.
But, I assure every family that a befitting reply will be given! pic.twitter.com/k9eSlfAePf
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 16, 2019
Responsibility for the attack was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), an organization with ties to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. JeM has carried out numerous acts of terrorism since their regional insurgency began in 1989 aimed at separating the northern Kashmir region from Indian control and merging it with Pakistan.
India has regularly accused Pakistan of failing to crack down on terrorist activity in the area, an opinion backed by the United States who also called on Islamabad to “end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil.”
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal rejected such accusations on Sunday, stating that JeM has been a “proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2002,” and that the country has maintained sanctions placed against the group.
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