Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in a press brief for the first time after the Pulwama attack echoed what Pakistan Army’s repeatedly say on terrorism and against India indicating a deeper alignment of the civilian government with the military in the neighbouring nation.
Without mentioning anything about the deaths of 44 CRPF personnel who died in a suicide bombing by a JeM terrorist or showing sympathy to the family of the martyred, Imran Khan said, “Pakistan is moving towards stability. Why would we do something like this? If you have any actionable intelligence that a Pakistani is involved, give it to us. I guarantee you, we will take action, not because we are under pressure, but because they are acting as enemies of Pakistan.”
“India accused Pakistan without any evidence and without thinking how this (attack) would benefit us,” the Pakistan PM said. “Would even a fool try to sabotage such an important visit as that of the Saudi crown prince?” he added.
Imran Khan, a former cricketer who took power last year after the general elections, denied that Pakistani soil was being used for attacks on India.
Targeting India he questioned “How can one country’s leadership be the Judge, Jury and Executioner… what sort of justice is this”
“It is easy to start a war but difficult to end it. I want to ask India if they want to live in the past. It’s not in our interest that somebody from here goes out to do terrorism, nor that somebody comes here and does terrorism.”
He repeated Pakistan’s earlier stand that it is itself the world’s biggest victim of terror and has nothing to gain from supporting terrorists; that those who accuse it do so without evidence and that making Pakistan the scapegoat is India’s default way to duck any debate on Kashmir.
“Pakistan has suffered the most due to terrorism — 70,000 Pakistanis have died due to terrorism, we have suffered a loss of more than 100 million dollars,” he said.
Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh was the first one to react on Imran Khan’s claim.
“Dear Imran Khan, you have Jaish chief Masood Azhar sitting in Bahawalpur and masterminding the attacks with ISI help. Go pick him up from there. If you can’t let us know, we’ll do it for you. BTW what has been done about the proofs of Mumbai’s 26/11 attack. Time to walk the talk,” Mr Singh tweeted.
Dear @ImranKhanPTI you have Jaish chief Masood Azhar sitting in Bahawalpur & masterminding the attacks with ISI help. Go pick him up from there. If you can’t let us know, we’ll do it for you. BTW what has been done about the proofs of Mumbai’s 26/11 attack. Time to walk the talk. pic.twitter.com/Zct6I7QieY
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) February 19, 2019
The terror group was behind the attack and a 19-year-old school dropout who joined the outfit last year was the bomber who targeted a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on February 14, killing 40 soldiers.
As a first move, the government has built pressure on Pakistan by scrapping the Most Favoured Nation status and increasing duty on Pakistani imports. Amid a wave of anger against Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly talked about retribution to the perpetrators of the attack.
India has also sought to isolate Pakistan internationally and over 40 countries have come in support against the Imran Khan-led country.
Attacking the ruling BJP party, he alleged that all this ‘attack Pakistan’ talk is all keeping elections in mind. But if at all these are serious, please make note of one thing clearly – Pakistan will not think of retaliating, it will retaliate,” he said.
“Pakistan offers full support for any investigation in Pulwama. I guarantee action on this,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an address to the nation.