Pakistan will respond to Indian aggression: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said Pakistan will respond to India's act of aggression, after the Pakistan Air Force in a timely response repelled Indian aircraft which violated the Line of Control (LoC) earlier today.

Addressing a joint press conference with the ministers of defence and finance following an emergency meeting of the National Security Council in the wake of India's LoC violation, Qureshi read out a handout released after the meeting stating that Pakistan has rejected India's claims of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and heavy casualties.

"The action has been done for domestic consumption given the election environment, putting regional peace and stability at grave risk. The forum concluded that India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing," Qureshi read out.

“The Bhartiya Janta Party was rejected in five Indian states so it had to resort to something… when it is time for elections, politicians start losing their minds,” he said.

The FM said that Indian jets entered Pakistani territory at 2:55pm and at 2:58 min they were out of the territory, he said, adding that the prompt action by the PAF made them scamper. “Even within India people are raising questions and saying that the story is not the same as being narrated,” said Qureshi.

The foreign minister informed that Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a special meeting of the National Command Authority (NCA) — which oversees the operational command and control of the country’s nuclear arsenals — on Wednesday (tomorrow).

He also shared that the government has decided to requisition a joint session of the Parliament, and a three-member committee comprising himself, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Finance Minister Asad Umar will consult with the Parliament on the matter.

Indian military aircraft violated the LoC as they intruded from the Muzaffarabad sector but were forced to return owing to the timely response of the Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said early Tuesday.

The incursion into the Pakistani air space follows a series of threats by Indian political and military leadership after the attack on an Indian Army convoy at Pulwama by a local youth, in reaction to the oppression unleashed by the occupational forces.

In a strongly-worded statement to the media, Qureshi said Pakistan will take international media to the site of the incident so that the journalists can uncover Indian propaganda.

"It has been decided that Prime Minister Imran Khan will engage the international leadership," the foreign minister said, adding that on Pakistan's request an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has been summoned in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where Pakistan's point of view will be presented.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, addressing the briefing, said the Indian aircraft dropped their payload some four to five kilometres inside the LoC.

"[The incident] happened in the night-time. There are some things we cannot make public. But there will be a response [from Pakistan]," Khattak said.

Responding to a journalist's question, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the Pakistan Air Force were airborne and waiting for all eventuality.

"At 2:55am the Indian planes entered [the Pakistani airspace]. At 2:58am they [were driven out] of our airspace. They fled from the LoC because of the alertness of our Air Force," the foreign minister said, as he warned not to "underestimate their [the air force's] ability to defend Pakistan."

"[Our air force] is always vigilant, and always ready to face the challenge. We have our own sense of timing. We will act, not react."

Reminding India of the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, Qureshi said Pakistan is a responsible and peaceful country and has always talked about de-escalation.

"[We] wish India could also open their way of thinking. Right now, they have elections on their mind. They are too caught up with power."

"Pakistan will do what Pakistan should do," he said in response to a reporter's question.

To another question, the foreign minister said there was no presence of a militant camp in the area.


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