In the run-up to India’s elections this week, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made a startling revelation on Sunday that Delhi was planning more military action against Pakistan in the third week of April and called on the international community to reprimand India for its irresponsible conduct.
The foreign minister, while addressing a press conference in Multan, announced that the government has “reliable intelligence that India is devising a new plan”.
“I am speaking responsibly, I hold a position of responsibility, and I know the words I utter will be picked up by the international media,” he prefaced.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has claimed that he has “reliable intelligence that India is planning a new attack on Pakistan” which may take place between 16 and 20 April.
“Preparations are being made, and there are chances of another attack against Pakistan. According to our information, the action could be taken between April 16 and 20.
“A new mishap could be staged in Indian-occupied Kashmir, just like [the] Pulwama [attack]. And its purpose will be to justify their [India’s] offensive against Pakistan and to increase diplomatic pressure against Islamabad.”
He added that New Delhi’s planned attack aims to “increase diplomatic pressure against Pakistan.” India’s Foreign Ministry is yet to comment on the matter.
Qureshi’s remarks followed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is attempting “to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pakistani F-16 [fighter jet] has backfired with US Defence officials also confirming that no F-16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet”.
“If it [action by India] happens, you can imagine the impact of the occurrence on the peace and stability of the region,” warned Qureshi on Sunday.
He said that Pakistan has already briefed the United Nations Security Council’s P5 [permanent five member countries] over the issue and stated Pakistan’s apprehensions.
“We want the international community to take notice of this irresponsible behavior and reprimand them [India] for taking this route,” he said.
Qureshi also criticized the global community for remaining silent over Indian aggression against Pakistan on Feb 26. He said that international powers did not reprimand India despite blatant violation of international laws on the part of India due to geopolitics.
“The international community, given the sensitivity of this flashpoint, should not remain silent,” he stated, adding that the global community should and would have to play their role in this regard.
Islamabad claimed that it downed two IAF MiG-21 planes in response to the February 26 Indian air raid on an alleged terrorist camp on Pakistani territory and arrested their pilots. One of them was released as a “peace gesture” several days later.
The Indian government, in turn, argued that the country lost only one plane and its forces managed to down a PAF F-16 — an aircraft that was provided to Islamabad by the US.
The IAF strike came after a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police on 14 February.
The 27 February air battle led to an escalation of New Delhi-Islamabad tensions, resulting in multiple cross-border exchanges of fire and several Pakistani drones allegedly violating Indian airspace. New Delhi claims to have downed a number of these drones.
Disclaimer: the post is based totally on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s Press Conference in Multan 7th April 2019.