Blaming Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for the Monday's terror attack at Dinanagar in Gurdaspur district, Amritsar member of Parliament (MP) and former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the post of prime minister in Pakistan had become superfluous as the army was running that country.
Interacting with the media after visiting the Dinanagar police station, which witnessed an 11-hour gunbattle between the security forces and the three suspected Pakistani terrorists, Amarinder said: "This is a cowardly act by Pakistan. We need to understand that Pakistan is being controlled by its army and the ISI."
"I am here not as the MP of neighbouring Amritsar constituency or a politician, but as a soldier. I want to tell Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif not to test India's patience. Don't force the Indian Army to adopt a hot pursuit approach," he added. The attack cannot be seen as the revival of terrorism in Punjab as it was an isolated incident, he said.
Asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi should continue talks with his Pakistan counterpart, Amarinder said the Pakistan premier had no influence over the ISI or the army there. When former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was taking a round of Lahore in a bus with Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan army was infiltrating into Kargil and preparing for war against India, he said. While talks with the neighbouring country cannot be stopped, India has to be alert and assertive that it cannot keep tolerating terror for long, Amarinder said.
He said the Centre should consider a policy of hot pursuit against terrorists and their patrons across the border even if it leads to escalation in hostilities.
Amarinder visited the terror attack site and also met the victim's families to express condolence. He visited the injured civilians and police personnel in hospitals and assured them of all help. He also attended the cremation of two police personnel.
Training guns on chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Badal, who is also the state home minister, Amarinder said: "Authorities in the state had been informed about the terror attack in advance, but the police were caught unawares. Where was the preparedness? Where is Sukhbir?"
"After Monday's attack, Badal should shun the support of extremists. If you play with fire, you are bound to get hurt," he said.
Amarinder was accompanied by Dinanagar Congress MLA Aruna Chaudhary, who was not in her constituency on Monday.