India strikes: Pakistani cabinet reviews LoC situation

Islamabad: Pakistan’s cabinet met on Friday to review the situation on the Line of Control (LoC) in the wake of surgical strikes by the Indian Army.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired the meeting, which is expected to put across the collective response of the nation to the challenge thrown by the latest events, Radio Pakistan reported.

The meeting comes in the wake of the surgical strikes that India carried out on terrorist launch pads across the LoC on Wednesday night. Pakistan has denied that no surgical strike took place and that there were only firing and artillery shelling between the two armies across the LoC that killed two of its soldiers.

In their remarks before the meeting, the cabinet members reiterated resolve of the government to defend the nation at all costs. Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said support to the struggle of the Kashmiri people would remain Pakistan’s main priority.

He said India was “indulging in diversionary tactics in a bid to deflect attention of the international community from its brutalities against Kashmiris.” He said Pakistan would confront India diplomatically but “our armed forces are also fully prepared to defend the country.”

Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif reiterated that Pakistan does not want escalation of tension but it was ready to meet any eventuality. He said Pakistan would respond befittingly to any firing across the LoC. The Defence Minister said India was displaying irresponsible attitude and trying to play with the galleries in a bid to hoodwink its public opinion. He said India cannot suppress legitimate aspirations of Kashmiri people.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir said India was creating artificial tension in its attempt to divert attention of the world from its atrocities against Kashmiris. He said Pakistan’s defence is in strong hands and the country would continue to raise voice for rights of Kashmiris.

Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir said the world pledged right to self-determination through UN resolutions decades back and now fifth generation of Kashmiris is protesting for this right.

He said Indian policy of suppression of legitimate struggle of Kashmiris would neither benefit India nor the region. Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada regretted that instead of giving right of self-determination to Kashmiris, India was resorting to terrorism against Pakistan. He said the world community should take notice of India’s belligerence. Secretary Foreign Affairs will brief the Cabinet on Kashmir issue and tensions between Pakistan and India.