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Planning to defend, not start a war, says Pakistan

Pakistan’s chief military spokesman said on Friday that the country’s armed forces were prepared to respond to any action India takes in reprisal for the February 14 suicide car bombing.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2019 23:22 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan,India,War
Pakistan's army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor addresses a news conference in Rawalpindi. (AP)

Pakistan’s chief military spokesman said on Friday that the country’s armed forces were prepared to respond to any action India takes in reprisal for the February 14 suicide car bombing that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir.

“We are not preparing for war but we are preparing for response and whatever response is needed, we have prepared for it,” Asif Ghafoor, the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations, said at a press conference.

He added: “Should you (India) initiate any reaction first, you would never be able to surprise us...we will surprise you.”

Responsibility for the suicide car bomb attack on a bus carrying CRPF troopers, part of a large paramilitary convoy on its way from Jammu to Srinagar, was claimed by the Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed group, ratcheting up tensions between India and Pakistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the Indian armed forces would avenge the attack at a time and place of their choosing.

Ghafoor said the Pakistani military was capable of responding to a “full spectrum threat” and warned: “I hope you (India) get (the message) and do not mess with Pakistan”.

Ghafoor repeated claims that Pakistan was not involved in the Pulwama attack.

“India began showering Pakistan with accusations immediately after the attack without sparing a moment to think, and without any evidence in hand,” he said.

“From the Line of Control onwards, Indian security forces have layered defences,” he said, explaining that there were layered lines of defence, one after another.

“The Pulwama attack happened miles away from the LoC. The explosives that were employed were being used by the administration and security forces in (J&K), it didn’t go there from Pakistan,” Ghafoor said. “The car that was used was also local [to Kashmir]. It did not go there from Pakistan.”

First Published: Feb 22, 2019 23:18 IST