Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Thursday sought to portray India’s surgical strikes against terrorists along the Line of Control as a “distortion of facts”, saying any aggression would not “go unpunished”.
Sharif used a passing out parade at the air force academy in Risalpur to speak on last week’s surgical strikes that the Indian Army said caused significant casualties. This was the first time he has publicly spoken on the issue.
“We have recently witnessed an unfortunate display of utter desperation playing out inside Occupied Kashmir and along Line of Control through a litany of falsehoods and distortion of facts by India,” Sharif said.
“Any aggression, born out of deliberate intent or even a strategic miscalculation, will not be allowed to go unpunished and will be met with the most befitting response. We will be highly relentless in defending our motherland against entire spectrum of threat,” he said, according to a statement from the military.
Sharif’s remarks came against the backdrop of a report in the Pakistani media that the civilian government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had delivered a “blunt” warning to the military that Pakistan faced international isolation on the issue of terrorism.
The army chief said Pakistan expected the world community to “condemn Indian insinuations and fabrications about a nation that has made unparalleled contributions in the global fight against terrorism”.
He said Pakistan is committed to a policy of friendship with all countries based on equality and mutual respect. At the same time, the armed forces are “prepared to give the most befitting response to any kind of internal and external threat”, he added.
Sharif said Operation Zarb-e-Azb had “turned the tide against terrorism” and there had been “success in uprooting the terrorist infrastructure”. The army was eliminating a “residual threat in the form of facilitators and their sympathisers through intelligence-based and combing operations”.
The army general was referring to a joint operation by Pakistan’s armed forces, started in June 2014, to crack down on militants in the state.
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