ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan says the situation with India still remains tense and its forces remain on alert to thwart any misadventure by the neighbouring country.

“There is a difficult situation with India. We wish for de-escalation and are taking steps for this. The situation [however], as the prime minister has earlier said, remains on alert,” said Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal.

He was talking to media after giving a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence here on Wednesday.

The Pakistan-India ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The nuclear armed neighbours have fought three wars since gaining independence from the British in 1947.

The recent plunge in bilateral ties came in February when India accused Pakistan of backing the Pulwama attack that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers.

India took to carrying out an air raid in Balakot area of Pakistan and intensified ceasefire violations on Line of Control in Kashmir as well as the Working Boundary.

Pakistan responded to these aggressions in a responsible manner, yet the confrontation brought the two states to the brink of an all out war – which was only avoided by the intervention of world powers.

Faisal in his media talk lamented that New Delhi without any proof accused Islamabad of harbouring militants behind the February 14 suicide bombing in Indian-Occupied Kashmir.

The Pulwama attack was allegedly claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed, which India asserted was still being run from Pakistan. Pakistan however vociferously denied any direct or indirect link to the bombing.

During a news conference last week, FO spokesman had said there was no information in the dossier submitted by India linking Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Moulana Masood Azhar to the suicide attack in Kashmir.

Before his media talk on Wednesday, Dr Faisal told the in-camera meeting of the Standing Committee on Defence that government had released the Indian pilot on the request of ‘friends of Pakistan’.

Foreign Office officials told the committee that the government decided to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman also as a goodwill gesture in order to dissipate the tension.

The agenda of the meeting, held at the Parliament House, included briefing on current situation with India and role of Foreign Office on international level during the tension along the Line of Control.

According to the sources, the information was shared by the FO when some committee members, especially Barjees Tahir, questioned them about Indian pilot’s release and opined that government

 

should have kept him in custody instead to keep pressure on the Indian government.

Committee Chairman Amjid Ali Khan was reported as saying that the Pakistani forces will forcefully respond to any Indian misadventure.

 Point-scoring on pilot release issue

Talking to media after the meeting, Barjees said the members were keen to know why the Indian pilot was released in such ‘haste’.

The PML-N leader said he told the officials that there was no need of that positive gesture to India and opening of Kartarpur border [as India always remained ungrateful].

“I asked the government officials why they had taken a decision to open Kartarpur border when Kashmir issue is lying unresolved,” he added.

The opposition leader said that people have started questioning ‘the weak stance’ of the Pakistani government on the pending issues with India.

“You released Indian pilot and the next day India martyred our soldiers… what is this gesture?,” Tahir asked.

The Indian government doesn’t want to get engaged in talks with Pakistan due to the upcoming national elections in their country, Tahir quoted the foreign office officials as having told the committee also.