Islamabad, Apr 7: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made a startling revelation on Sunday that Delhi was planning more military action against Pakistan in the third week of April, media report in Pakistan said.
Qureshi, while addressing a press conference, announced that the Pakistan government has “reliable intelligence that India is devising a new plan”.
“I am speaking responsibly, I hold a position of responsibility, and I know the words I utter will be picked up by the international media,” Dawn quoted him saying.
“Preparations are being made, and there are chances of another attack against Pakistan. According to our information, the action could be taken between April 16 and 20. A new mishap could be staged in Kashmir, just like the Pulwama attack. And its purpose will be to justify India’s offensive against Pakistan and to increase diplomatic pressure against Islamabad,” the report quoted Qureshi saying.
On February 14, at least 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack in Pulwama. India had immediately alleged of Pakistan’s involvement, whereas Islamabad strongly rejected the claim and asked for “actionable evidence”.
Subsequently on February 26, Indian warplanes went into Pakistani airspace and allegedly struck what New Delhi claimed was a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) training camp.
The next day, Pakistani jets fired at various targets from across the Line of Control. As the Indian Air Force engaged the Pakistani jets, Pakistan shot down an Indian warplane and captured its pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan. The pilot was released on March 1 as a gesture of peace by the Pakistani government.
“If it happens, you can imagine the impact of the occurrence on the peace and stability of the region,” Qureshi said.
He said that Pakistan has already briefed the United Nations Security Council’s P5 [permanent five member countries] over the issue and stated Pakistan’s apprehensions.
“We want the international community to take notice of this irresponsible behaviour and reprimand them [India] for taking this route,” he said.
Qureshi also criticised the global community for remaining silent over the “Indian aggression” against Pakistan on February 26.
“The international community, given the sensitivity of this flashpoint, should not remain silent,” he stated, adding that the global community should and would have to play their role in this regard.
Qureshi’s remarks come a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan rebuked India over its “false claim” of shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in a dogfight amid growing tension between the two countries in February.
“India’s claim that one of its fighter pilots shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial battle between the two nuclear powers in February appears to be wrong,” read a report posted on Thursday on the website of US-based Foreign Policy magazine.
“The truth always prevails and is always the best policy,” Pakistan prime minister tweeted in response. “BJP’s attempt to win the elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claim of downing a Pak F-16 has backfired with US defence officials also confirming that no F-16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet.”
Pak releases 100 Indian fishermen
Press Trust of India
Karachi, Apr 7: Pakistan on April 7 released 100 Indian fishermen as a “goodwill gesture” amidst tensions between the two countries after the Pulwama terror attack, media reports said.
The fishermen form the first batch of 360 Indian prisoners Pakistan has announced to set free in four phases this month.
The released prisoners were taken to the Karachi Cantonment Railway Station under heavy security, where they boarded the Allama Iqbal Express for Lahore, The Express Tribune reported. From Lahore, they would be taken to the Wagah Border for handover to the Indian authorities, it said.
The fishermen were arrested for trespassing into the country’s territorial waters and violating international maritime limits.
They were given gifts and provided travel expenses by the Edhi Foundation, a non-profit social welfare organisation in Pakistan, the report said.
On April 5, Pakistan announced that it will release 360 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen, this month in four phases, as a “goodwill gesture”.
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said the process of releasing the Indian fishermen will start on April 8 when 100 prisoners will be released.
Another 100 will be released in the second phase on April 15 and in the third phase on April 22, another 100 will be set free. The fourth and last phase on April 29 will see the release of the remaining 60 prisoners. “We are doing it as a goodwill gesture and hope that India will reciprocate it,” Mr. Faisal said while addressing his weekly briefing to the media in Islamabad on Friday.
Currently, there are 347 Pakistani prisoners in India and 537 Indian prisoners in Pakistan, he said. “Pakistan will release 360 Indian prisoners, of which 355 are fishermen and five are civilians,” Mr. Faisal said.
Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman of Edhi welfare organisation which helps the released fishermen with clothes and food, told PTI from Karachi on April 5 that the process of releasing the fishermen will start from April 7. “First a group of 100 fishermen will be taken from Karachi to Lahore on Allama Iqbal Express on Sunday,” he said.
They are likely to be handed over to India on April 8 at Wagah. They spent months and sometimes years before repatriated.
“Protecting the special status of Jammu and Kashmir as guaranteed in the Constitution of the country, is one of the main cornerstones of our campaign for these elections”