Pakistan on Thursday denied that Indian troops had carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control, saying it had responded to “cross-border fire” from the Indian side that killed two soldiers and injured nine more.
Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership reacted after India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said Indian soldiers conducted surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads across the LoC, causing significant casualties.
The Foreign Office summoned Indian envoy Gautam Bambawale and lodged a protest against ceasefire violations along the LoC, sources said.
The first reaction came from the Pakistan military’s media arm, which said in a strongly worded statement: “There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross-border fire initiated and conducted by India which is existential phenomenon.”
The military said it “strongly and befittingly responded” to the firing. It added, “Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, same will be strongly responded.”
The military dismissed the surgical strikes as an “illusion”, while defence minister Khawaja Asif referred to them as “a lie”. Asif said Pakistani troops had responded to “small weapons fire in five sectors along the LoC” that killed two soldiers and injured nine others.
“If India tries to do this again, we will respond forcefully,” said Asif, who had on Monday warned that Pakistan would use its nuclear weapons to annihilate India if the country’s survival was threatened.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif discussed the situation along the LoC during a phone call with army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, and convened a meeting of his cabinet on Friday to review the situation in Kashmir. National Security Advisor Nasser Janjua submitted a comprehensive report on the LoC situation to the Prime Minister’s office.
Before the Indian DGMO announced details of the surgical strikes, the Pakistani military’s media arm said there was “Indian unprovoked firing” in Bhimber, Hot Spring, Kel and Lipa sectors of the 742-km LoC. The exchange of fire began at 2.30 am and continued till 8 am, it said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan’s “intent for a peaceful neighbourhood should not be mistaken as its weakness”. He said his forces were fully capable of defending Pakistan’s territorial integrity.
Sharif condemned the “unprovoked and naked aggression of Indian forces” and said Pakistan can “thwart any evil design to undermine” its sovereignty.