'Don't mess with us': Pakistan military warns India in aftermath of Pulwama attack, says it can respond to full spectrum threat

Amid tensions following the 14 February Pulwama attack, the Pakistani military on Friday said that the country wasn't preparing for a war with India, but it has a "right to respond to war threats".

"We are a sovereign state. We're not preparing for war. It's you (India) who is sending war threats. We're not preparing for initiating a war but we have a right to respond to the war threats from your side," Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General - Inter Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) said at a press conference.

The Pakistani military said that India will never be able to "surprise" it. "We do not wish to go into war, but please be rest assured should you initiate any aggression, you shall never be able to surprise us. Pakistan Armed Forces shall never be surprised by you. But let me assure you, we shall surprise you. Because you initiate, we shall also dominate the escalation ladder. Never think that due to our commitment elsewhere, we will lack capacity," Ghafoor said.

He added: "We have the will and the determination, the ways and means to reach our desired end state. We can respond to full spectrum threat and I hope you get this message and don't mess with Pakistan."

On the situation in India following the Pulwama attack, Ghafoor backed Prime Minister Imran Khan's remarks that India needed "deep introspection" to realise why people on its side of Kashmir had "lost the fear of death"

"You need instropection as to why the Kashmiris are responding to your practice of violence with violence of such level. You are the world's largest democracy. Two countries which have democracy cannot go to war. You are a secular state then why should such occasions arise by which the sentiments of the minorities are hurt? What happened to the Muslims and Kashmiris after the Pulwama attack is not what being secular is," Ghafoor said.

Referring to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017, he said, "If you want peace and progress, then don't send Kulbhushans to our country, or lose out on opportunities that will result in your development."

He further added, "There are two senior Pakistan army officials under military custody on the charges of espionage. Army chief (Qamar Javed Bajwa) has ordered their court martial. It is in process. Both are individual cases, there is no link between the two cases."

At least 40 CRPF jawans were killed in a terror strike by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on 14 February, sparking outrage in the country, with many saying the attack should be avenged.

After the incident, massive protests and candlelight marches were held in different parts of the country against the attack and curfew was imposed in Jammu following violence during demonstrations.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that the "time will come" when people's sentiments and expectations will have "fulfilment".

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2019 17:26:20 IST

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