Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday has stated that Pakistan released the Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture. It is now up to India as to what steps it takes for de-escalation. In an interview with a foreign TV channel, he stated it was up to New Delhi to follow Pakistan’s decision of releasing captured Indian pilot as a peace gesture and decide whether it wanted to move towards de-escalation or continue pursuing a warmongering agenda.

He said the resolution of long-standing Kashmir dispute is inevitable for reduction of tension in the region. Referring to the Indian forces atrocities in the Indian occupied Kashmir, Major General Ghafoor said there will surely be the Kashmir reaction if India goes ahead with the oppressive measures. There is also a UN report on the Indian gross human rights violations in IoK.

The ISPR spokesperson said Pakistan released the Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture. It is now up to India as to what steps it takes for de-escalation. The DG ISPR also urged the international community to assist Pakistan in the country’s fight against terrorism, instead of levelling allegations alone.

Major General Asif Ghafoor also denied that Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) –the group that accepted responsibility for the Pulwama attack – had made any claim about the attack from within Pakistan. The spokesperson remarked, Jaish-e-Muhammad doesn’t formally exist in Pakistan. It has been proscribed by the United Nations as well as by Pakistan.

He made it clear that Pakistan was not taking these measures “under anyone’s pressure. When asked about the recent standoff between Islamabad and New Delhi – which had resulted from India’s violation of Pakistan airspace last week – Major General Ghafoor said: “The ball is in the Indian court, Should they decided to escalate tension more, the situation will go bad.”

The ISPR spokesperson, however, admitted that both countries had come ‘close to war’ following India’s act of aggression in dropping bombs on Balakot. The next day, Pakistan had responded by striking ‘non-military targets” across the border. Two Indian jets were also shot down and an Indian pilot was captured. Pakistan released the Indian pilot two days later as a gesture of peace”.

Earlier this week, the government had decided to launch a decisive crackdown against militant groups. The law enforcement forces have already taken over administration of multiple mosques and seminaries that were said to be linked to extremist groups, including the Je-M and Jamaatud Dawa