The Pakistan Army on Saturday said it is “ready for war” but chooses to walk the path of peace in the interest of its people, comments which came in response to Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s remark that ‘stern action’ is needed to ‘avenge’ the brutal killing of Indian soldiers.
In an interview to Dunya TV, Pakistan Army spokesperson Asif Ghafoor said the country has a long-standing record of fighting terrorism and “we know the price for peace”, The Dawn reported.
“Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be mistaken for weakness. War is imposed when you are not ready for it. But we are a nuclear nation and ready,” he said.
Earlier in the day, commenting on the recent brutal killing of a BSF jawan and three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir, General Rawat in Jaipur said stern action is needed to avenge the barbarism by terrorists and Pakistan Army against Indian soldiers.
“We need to take stern action to avenge the kind of barbarism that terrorists and the Pakistan Army have been carrying against our soldiers. It is time to give it back to them in the same coin but not by resorting to similar kind of barbarism. I think the other side must also feel the same pain,” he said at a press conference here.
Rawat insisted that action against Pakistan was needed but not in a barbaric manner.
Refuting India’s claim of Pakistani soldiers killing the BSF jawan, Ghafoor said, “We have struggled to achieve peace in the last two decades. We can never do anything to disgrace any soldier.”
“They (India) have in the past as well laid the blame on us for mutilating the body of a fallen soldier. We are a professional army. We never engage in such acts,” he added.
“We (Pakistan Army) are ready for war but choose to walk the path of peace in the interest of the people of Pakistan, the neighbours and the region,” the spokesperson said.
Ghafoor said the Indian Army is hurling “irresponsible” statements to divert attention from its domestic issues.
“The Indian government is facing graft scandals at home. And in a bid to divert attention from their domestic issues, the Indian army is hurling irresponsible statements of war,” he said.
The war of words between the armed forces of the two countries came a day after India called off the foreign minister-level talks with Pakistan in New York this month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
General Rawat also said the Indian Army had carried out successful operations against the Pakistan Army whenever they did something against India along the border.
“Pakistan has suffered many casualties and we have been able to take on their defence system to a large extent, but we never resorted to barbarism.
They requested for a ceasefire in May and we agreed, but if they continue to do this, we will need to take other action,” he said.
Ghafoor also defended the issuance of postal stamps by Pakistan, glorifying Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani and others, saying, “The UN had released a human rights violation report following which the then interim government issued those tickets highlighting the plight of Kashmiris.”
He said India should come forward for a dialogue.
“Whenever attempts for dialogue have failed, it is because India has run away from the table,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry also said, “Pakistan and India are nuclear powers; a war is out of question.”
In a statement, he said, the Indian army chief’s remarks were inappropriate.
“As a peace-loving nation, Pakistan desires peace (with India),” the minister said.