‘We will dominate the escalation ladder,’ DG ISPR warns India

  • We are not preparing for war, but we have to be prepared to respond: Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor

RAWALPINDI – Pakistan Army’s spokesman has warned India of an overwhelming armed response if war is imposed by the country’s eastern neigbour.

In a press conference to discuss the situation that has emerged after Feb 14 suicide attack in Pulwama,
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor remined India that Pakistan was capable of giving a response which would surprise her.

The ISPR chief further clarified that Pakistan had nothing to gain from Pulwama attack that left over 40 CRPF soldiers dead and dozens other injured.

The ISPR chief questioned why would Pakistan want to stage a militant attack in Occupied Kashmir when eight important events were due in the month of February and March: Saudi Crown Prince visit, UNSC discussion on terrorism, Afghan political reconciliation process, EU meeting on Kashmir, Kulbhushan Jhadav hearing at the ICJ, key FATF meet in Paris, Kartarpur Border meeting between Indian and Pakistan and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019.

“In light of these eight events, what benefit would Pakistan get from the Pulwama attack?” he questioned. “I’ll leave it to you to judge who is benefiting from all this.”

“India is making efforts to diplomatically isolate Pakistan, but is Pakistan diplomatically isolated?” he asked. “If it is, you have seen lately how foreign heads of state and dignitaries have been visiting Pakistan, how foreign investment is pouring in, how development is ongoing on CPEC. Regarding military cooperation and diplomacy, we’ve held joint exercises with Russia, China, the PAF and US Air Force together, and lately the Aman naval exercise took place.”

Terming the Pulwama attack a failure of Indian intelligence agencies, Ghafoor said the Modi government should seek explanation from its security forces before blaming cross border elements for attacks in Occupied Kashmir or on its own soil.

How can such elements cross the border in the presence of strict security arrangements on the Line Of Control (LoC), he questioned, let alone bringing huge amount of explosives to the held-valley.

He told the journalists from all over the world that the Pulwama attacker, Adil Ahmed Dar, was a resident of Occupied Kashmir and it was brutality of Indian military that compelled him to react violently.

“You know the history, you know how the attacker was arrested and mistreated by security forces. If you do technical analysis of the Adil Dar video, the quality and the distance it was shot from, it gives lots of indicators.”

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Maj Gen Ghafoor also pointed out that India has scheduled elections in the coming months and in occupied Kashmir their indigenous struggle is at its peak right now and out of India’s control.

“Whenever there is supposed to be an important event in Pakistan, or the country is moving towards stability, then there is always some sort of staged incident in either India or occupied Kashmir,” the DG ISPR said.

“In Dec 2001, the Indian parliament attack, they were supposed to have general elections and the presidential election in 2002, the United Nations General Assembly was in session. It was around this time that an influx of terrorists began on Pakistan’s western border following 9/11.

“When the Mumbai attack took place, our progress on the war on terror was going quite well and at this time too, there were to be general elections in India from February to December.

“On Jan 2, 2016, Pathankot happened. The State of the Union address of the US President was due. India was to see state elections and there were foreign secretary-level talks scheduled between India and Pakistan. That was scuttled.

“The Uri incident happened on Sept 18, 2016, when our prime minister was set to go to the UNGA to deliver a speech. So this pattern shows that whenever in Pakistan there is some important event due, some staged action of this sort takes place.”

Shedding light on the past events that led to three wars between the two countries, the ISPR chief said Pakistan’s creation in 1947 was a reality that India has not accepted so far.

Talking about Indian threats, Ghafoor said: “You (India) shall not be able to surprise us. We will surprise you,” the DG ISPR said while referring to reports that India was preparing for a war.

He once again invited India to hold dialogue to resolve issues between two nuclear-armed neighbours including Kashmir.

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“You are the largest democracy, two democracies do not fight. You are a secular country. Why should such circumstances be created where minorities are not safe,” he posed a question to the Modi government.

To a question on the Feb 13 terrorist attack on Revolutionary Guards bus and the Iranian allegations, the military spokesman said that Pakistan’s western neighbour was brotherly, friendly country and “we are also talking to Iran for border fencing so that no third party is able to exploit the situation”.

About Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani, he said that the former DG ISI has been found guilty of violating military code conduct, a reference to former spymaster’s book which he co-authored with ex-chief of India’s Research Analysis Wing (RAW).

He confirmed that two Military officers are under arrest for espionage and the Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa has ordered court partial against them.