Politics, Asia - pacific

Pakistan open to probe into Kashmir attack

Stressing anti-terrorist stance, Imran Khan says his country will retaliate against any attack from the Indian side

19.02.2019
Pakistan open to probe into Kashmir attack

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistan on Tuesday proposed a joint probe with India of last week’s terror attack in Indian-administrated Kashmir that killed over 44 soldiers.

In a statement on state-run TV, Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country is "ready to investigate the attack if India can provide actionable intelligence."

"What could Pakistan possibly gain from such an attack when we want peace in the region and want to move forward?" he asked.

Last Thursday, at least 44 Indian troops were killed when an explosive-laden vehicle rammed into a paramilitary bus along the Jammu-Kashmir highway.

Soon after the attack, the Indian government accused Pakistan of being behind the attack -- charges Islamabad denied -- and warned of a strong response.

"I want to respond to the Indian allegations against Pakistan on the same day but couldn't respond due to the visit of the Saudi crown prince visit as didn’t want to divert attention from the visit," Khan explained.

“India has accused Pakistan without thinking why we would do this and how this attack would benefit us when a very important visit and conference were going on in Pakistan," he said, adding that only a fool would sabotage such an important event.


'Attackers are not Pakistan's friends'

Khan said if New Delhi provided proof that anyone from his country was behind the attack he would act against them.

"Those who carry out such attacks are not friends of Pakistan but our enemies and we will not tolerate our soil being used for attacks inside or outside Pakistan," Khan vowed.

Pakistan wants peace and stability in the region and India should also develop its thinking, Khan added.

But New Delhi should know that "Pakistan will retaliate if there is an attack from the Indian side", he said.

"I'm hearing and watching Indian media and politicians, they are calling for revenge on Pakistan but if India does something we will not think about retaliating but will retaliate," Khan warned.

He suggested New Delhi come forward and resolve the issue of the disputed Kashmir region through dialogue, as no issue can be resolved through force.

"India should consider why today Kashmiris aren’t afraid of death anymore," he said.

Pakistan is ready to talk with India about terrorism “because terrorism is a big issue for us and we want to eliminate it," he added.

Pakistan has been fighting terrorism for the last 15 years, losing thousands of lives and over $100 billion, Khan explained.

On the Kashmir issue, Khan said that the entire world today accepted after 17 years of war in Afghanistan that there is no military solution to end Afghan conflict.

He said Kashmir issue, like the Afghan conflict, can only be resolved through dialogue not use of force.


Disputed region

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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