Pakistan is fully prepared to defend itself, says Nawaz Sharif
Chairing a special meeting of his Cabinet to take stock of the situation against the backdrop of heightened tensions with India, Sharif repeated Pakistan’s rejection of the surgical strikes and said India had resorted to “unprovoked firing” on the LoC.
Sharif said: “Pakistan is fully prepared to defend itself against any form of aggression.” The Pakistan PM criticised the “Indian aggression” at the LoC and said Pakistan stands in solidarity with the people of Kashmir who are “struggling for their right to self-determination”. He added: “Indian atrocities in the region cannot suppress the spirit of Kashmiris.”
Sharif also described the Kashmir issue as an “unfinished agenda of Partition”, according to state-run Radio Pakistan. “Pakistan’s commitment for peace must not be construed as weakness. In case of any aggression or violation of the LoC, Pakistan will take all necessary steps to protect its people and territorial integrity,” he said.
Speaking at the Cabinet meet, Sharif’s foreign policy advisor Sartaj Aziz said supporting the struggle of the Kashmiri people will remain a priority for Pakistan and it “would not back down on this account”.
India, Aziz said, is indulging in “diversionary tactics” to deflect the international community’s attention from its “brutalities against Kashmiris”.
Defence minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan does not want an escalation of tensions but is ready to meet any eventuality. The Pakistan Cabinet expressed concern at the killings and rights violations in Kashmir and reiterated Pakistan’s call for a free and impartial investigation under UN auspices.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani sparked violent protests in Kashmir that left dozens dead. Pakistan angered India by referring to Wani as a “Kashmiri leader” and Sharif devoted much of his speech at the UN General Assembly to the Kashmir issue.
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