Pakistan will not think about retaliating if it comes under attack, it will most definitely retaliate, said Prime Minister Imran Khan in a state address on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Khan said that he delayed issuing a statement on the attack because of the Saudi crown prince’s visit.
“It was a very important visit and so I decided to not to respond to Indian accusations because I didn’t want the visit to lose its importance,” he said.
Over 40 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack in Indian-Administered Kashmir on February 14 after a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into their convoy. The Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility.
He said that the Indian government had “accused Pakistan without any evidence or thought”. If Pakistan were holding such an important visit, then why would it need to carry out any terror attack, he asked. “Why will Pakistan engage in terrorism? What purpose will this serve? What advantage does it have for us? Pakistan has suffered the most in the war against terror.”
The Indian government is stuck in the past. “It is using the same old rhetoric of blaming Pakistan for everything. You need to move ahead,” he said.
“I have said time and again that this is the new Pakistan,” he said. “It is not in our interest for our soil to be used for terrorism.”
“If you have intelligence reports that Pakistan was involved in the attack, then share it with us,” he said while addressing the Indian authorities. “We will take an action against the person involved.”
He remarked that India needed a new mindset. It needed to think about why young people in Kashmir were not afraid of dying. “They need to think if this one-sided oppression is going to work.” The PM said that a military solution never solved anything as was evident in the case of Afghanistan. “Shouldn’t India think on similar lines?”
Many Indian politicians and its media have said that Pakistan should be taught a lesson. “What law allows one party to become judge, jury and execution in any case?”
Pakistan is ready to hold dialogue but it is not afraid of retaliation, he said at the end. “I hope better sense prevails.”
Indian media and government officials were quick to assign blame to Pakistan for what they said was supporting the Maulana Masood Azhar-led group, the JeM. Pakistan refuted allegations that its government was linked to the Pulwama attack.
Pakistan requested UN Secretary-General António Guterres to take notice of what it said were the “irresponsible” tactics by the Indian government which were aggravating geopolitical relations. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote a letter to him, raising concerns over the “negative tactics” of the Narendra Modi government ahead of the elections in India.