SIALKOT - Pakistan Defence Minister Kh Asif yesterday reiterated the determination to retaliate against external aggression and talking up Indian extremism with the United Nations.
“Pakistan will respond with full force if India continues targeting its civilian population,” Asif re-told the media on his visit to Khundanpur.
Kundanpur was among the villages which came under Indian cross-border shelling a couple of days ago along the Working Boundary in Sialkot – the border between Pakistan and Jammu area of Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in such skirmishes between the two nuclear neighbours since independence in 1947.Both said the other side had opened fire first.
Tension between the two nuclear neighbours resurfaces after both sides got engaged in a diplomatic confrontation which began after suspension of bilateral talks last week.
Nine died near the city of Sialkot in Pakistan's Punjab province, and more than 40 were wounded by Indian troops firing a couple on Friday. India said at least four villagers were killed on its side of Kashmir border by Pakistani fire.
“Pakistan will take up the matter of Indian border breaches with the United Nations and other international forums to uncover the actual face of New Delhi,” Asif said.
“Pakistan also has proof of Indian hand in financing terrorism on Pakistani soil and Islamabad will hand the UN evidence at its General Assembly meeting next month. Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) will also present the proof to the US leadership during his visit in October,” the minister maintained.
“We will counter any plot concocted by India on all levels. We will take good care (of the Indians), if war is imposed on us. Pakistan has every right to retaliate, and retaliate in kind and retaliate in full force,” he said.
India is diverting the world attention from its internal failures by creating tension on the borders, the defence minister said.
At least ten people were killed in recent wave of violence in Indian Gujarat. Hundreds of Muslims and Hindus were killed in the same state of India in 2002 when ethnic riots erupted and PM Narendra Modi, who was the CM at that time, was accused of initiating and condoning the violence.
“If India crosses the international border and aggression is committed again, we will defend our homeland and inflict much more damage than 1965,” he told the media there.
The defence minister showed the same spirit of determination the other day during his visit to Sialkot CHM. The 1965 war between the two countries was fought for over two weeks in September, and on each September 6, the militaries of both states are eulogised.
Asif said his government was committed to stamping terrorism out of the country and the Zarb-e-Azb operation by the armed forces was bearing fruit. He said the nation stood by the army for the defence of motherland.
“We want durable peace in the region. We want cordial relations with our neigbours including India but not at the cost of lives of our civilians.
“Pakistan is a frontline state in war on terror. Our solider have been fighting for peace. We have made sacrifices. Their sacrifices won’t go waste,” he said.
Asif also visited other affected villages and shared grief with the bereaved families of the deceased. He distributed Rs500000 compensation cheques among the villagers. MNA Ch Armughan Subhani, Gujranwala Commissioner Shamail Ahmed Khawaja, Sialkot DCO Dr Asif Tufail and MPAs Ch Muhammad Ikram and Manshaullah Butt were also present.
Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani visited the Sialkot CMH where he said Pakistan wanted durable peace in region and better ties with its neighbours including India. However, he said the country would never succumb to such a hostile action.
“Our armed forces are capable of defending the mother land and any evil eye will be gouged out,” he told the media.
Rabbani said the whole of the Pakistani people, the parliament and the army were one against the ongoing Indian aggression.
He took a swipe at the Indian government for diverting the public attention from its failure in maintaining peace in Indian Gujarat through such cross-border skirmishes.
He made an appeal to the world to take serious notice of the Indian aggression and play the role in regional peace. A team of United Nations peacekeeping observers yesterday visited Pakistani villages hit by Indian shelling the other day and assured the villagers of playing the part for permanent peace in the region.