Surgical strikes aftermath: Is Pakistan prepared for potential armed escalation against India?

The surgical strikes carried out by India on 29 September have evoked fiery reactions from Pakistan's leaders, who claim that their country is "impregnable".

However, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seems to be in two minds about the whole situation: even as he denies India's claims of surgical strikes, he chaired a special meeting on 3 October of all parliamentary leaders to brief them on the situation on the LoC, after India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan Prime Minitser Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

Pakistan Prime Minitser Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

Meanwhile, Army chief Raheel Sharif warned — a day after India conducted surgical strikes — that Pakistan will give the "most befitting response" to any "misadventure" by "any adversary". He added that, "Pakistan cannot be coerced through any amount of malicious propaganda," while expressing complete satisfaction over the operational preparedness of Pakistan's Army. Scroll further reported that Raheel directed the army to be prepared in case of war and the commanders to focus on "combat readiness".

It came on the same day of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed warning India of a similar  "befitting response" for its military operation in PoK, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now know what is meant by surgical strikes. At a public address in Faisalabad, Saeed said, "We will tell you what is a real surgical strike... and you will get the deserved response soon. I want to tell Indian media to see soon how Pakistani jawans conduct surgical strikes. Let me tell you...the United States will not be able to help you."

How prepared is Pakistan in the face of a war?

The country claims that its armed forces are wholly capable of foiling any threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity. During the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting attended by top defence officials, including army chief General Raheel Sharif, Nawaz Sharif in a statement said, "Internal and external security situation of the country with particular reference to the situation on the Line of Control (LoC) and operational preparedness of the armed forces were reviewed in detail during the meeting." The leaders also expressed "complete satisfaction over operational preparedness" of the armed forces. They resolved that the entire nation stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its armed forces and will ensure defence of the country at any cost.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, at the special meeting of all parliamentary leaders, said, "a united Pakistan can counter Indian aggression", adding that by working together "we can achieve our national security goals".

Nawaz Sharif, at a special Cabinet meeting to review the security situation in the country, said, "the nation is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the valiant armed forces to defend the motherland. No one will be allowed to cast an evil eye on Pakistan, adding that Pakistan was fully capable of executing surgical strikes.

Daily Pakistan Global quoted Lt-General Asim Saleem Bajwa, the current director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations, as saying that Pakistan’s armed forces were prepared to strike back if "any adventure is undertaken by Indian side".

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Oct 05, 2016 14:05 PM

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