India should not make the "mistake" of carrying out surgical strikes against Pakistan as such an action would provoke a strong response, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday.
Pakistan did not want war but is ready to defend its frontiers, Qureshi told reporters in his hometown of Multan. If India made the "mistake of carrying out a surgical strike", Pakistan will deal sternly with such an eventuality, he said.
"We will be compelled to respond if it happens," he said.
Asked if the possibility of war could be ruled out amidst escalating tensions in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, Qureshi said: "If you are asking me, I am not ruling out anything. But if war is imposed, we will respond to it like a brave and self-respecting nation."
He added: "I want to give a message to India that we are the torch-bearers of peace and remain committed to our desire for peace...Contrary to our reasonable, cooperative and non-aggressive attitude, some elements from India are issuing provocative statements."
Regional tensions have escalated after India blamed Pakistan-based elements for the Mumbai terror attacks that killed over 180 people. India has asked for action against these elements, but Pakistan has been insisting that it needs evidence from India to take forward its investigation into the incident.
Qureshi said Pakistan condemns terrorism and wants to expose those involved in such activities. It has already promised cooperation to India in this regard, he said.
"We will not resort to provocation while remaining committed to cooperation but at the same time, we will not tolerate any pressure," he remarked. Pakistan, he said, should "hope for the best but be prepared for the worst".