Pakistan PM Warns India Against Attack, Urges Talks on Kashmir Blast

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday Pakistan would retaliate if India were to attack in response to a bombing in the disputed Kashmir region, which India blamed on Pakistan, while adding he wanted to cooperate in investigating the blast.

Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours has risen sharply over the killing in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir on Thursday of 40 Indian paramilitary police in a suicide bomb attack claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.

Pakistan has denied any involvement and called for U.N. intervention.

But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, facing a general election by May, has come under pressure to exact revenge, and has said he has given his security forces a free hand to administer a “strong response”.

In a televised address to the nation, Khan noted the calls in India for revenge and said he hoped “better sense will prevail”.

“If you think that you will launch any kind of attack on Pakistan, Pakistan will not just think about retaliation, Pakistan will retaliate,” Khan said.
“And after that where will it head?”

The South Asian neighbours have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir.

While they have not fought a full-scale war since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998, they have fought countless skirmishes along their de facto border in the mountains of Kashmir.

Khan reiterated that Pakistan had nothing to do with the bomb attack and said it was ready to take action against anyone found to be behind it.
“If you have any actionable intelligence that Pakistanis are involved, give that to us, I guarantee you that we will take action,” Khan said.

Muslim Pakistan has long said it only provides moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for self-determination, though that has never dispelled India’s conviction of Pakistani support for militants.

Khan said his country had changed.

“I am telling you clearly that this is new Pakistan. This is a new mind set, this is new thinking,” Khan said. “We want stability.”

‘SURRENDER OR BE KILLED’

India’s top military commander in Kashmir told mothers to get their militant sons to surrender or see them dead, as security forces intensified a crackdown in response to the deadliest attack on security forces in three decades of insurgency in the Muslim-majority region.

Lieutenant-General K.J.S. Dhillon accused Pakistan’s main Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of “controlling” those behind the Thursday bombing and warned of retribution.

“I would request all the mothers in Kashmir to please request their sons who have joined terrorism to surrender and get back to the mainstream,” Dhillon told reporters in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state.

“Otherwise anyone who has picked up the gun will be killed.”

The bomb attack was carried out by a 20-year-old man from a village in Indian Kashmir. His parents said he had joined a militant group after being beaten by Indian troops three years ago.

Dhillon did not provide any proof for his accusation that Pakistan’s military intelligence agency was behind the blast, only pointing to what he said were its close links with the JeM.

The bomb attack has sparked outrage in India with calls for revenge circulating on social media, and rising animosity towards Kashmiri Muslims in other parts of the Hindu-majority country, to the alarm of rights groups


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