Pakistan on Thursday stepped up its anti-India rant with the military chiefs, including outgoing Army chief General Raheel Sharif, threatening that the armed forces were capable of teaching India “a lesson” if the border tension escalates.
Just days ahead of his retirement, General Sharif said that India had staged a “drama” of surgical strikes. “If India conducts a surgical strike we will give such a lesson that will be taught in India Army courses,” according to an ISPR statement.
The comments from the army chief, who is on his farewell tour, came a day after Pakistan claimed that 13 people, including three soldiers, were killed in Indian firing along the Line of Control.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also convened a high-level meeting to review the situation at the Line of Control, as Pakistan’s Air Chief of Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah joined in hitting out at India.
Pakistan has shown utmost restraint in the face of Indian belligerence and will not tolerate India’s “deliberate targeting” of civilians and ambulances, Nawaz Sharif was quoted as saying in a statement from the Prime Ministers House.
“We cannot tolerate deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, particularly children and women, the ambulances and the civilian transport,” Nawaz Sharif said.
“Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint despite the continuing ceasefire violations from the Indian side,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister called upon the international community to play its active role in defusing tension between the two nations, “which has been deliberately escalated by the Indian side”, said the statement.
The meeting concluded that India was trying to divert the attention of the international community “from the grave human rights violations, massacres and atrocities being committed by the Indian security forces” in Kashmir, it said.
In a related development, Pakistan’s Air Chief of Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said the country’s armed forces were “not worried about India at all”.
Speaking at the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) in Karachi, the chief of air staff also called on India to resolve the Kashmir issue, saying: “They should speak on matters of principle and our ties will improve.”
Meanwhile, Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah also joined the other two military chiefs and said that the response that Pakistan Navy gave to India (when it chased an Indian Submarine last week) has satisfied the public. “I am also satisfied.”
Firing exchanges and a bitter diplomatic war between the two neighbours have escalated after the September 18 killing of 19 Indian soldiers in a terror attack on an army base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir.