Amid tensions, Pak PM offers olive branch to India
“Let’s talk; escalation will take initiative out of my and Modi’s hands”
Islamabad, Feb 27: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday again invited India for talks and urged that “better sense should prevail” amid escalating tensions between the two neighbours.
Khan’s comments came after an aerial engagement between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in which New Delhi said it shot down a Pakistan fighter jet but lost one of its MiG-21s, with its pilot reportedly in Pakistani custody.
Khan said in an address to the nation: “I wanted to take you into confidence regarding the situation arising since yesterday. After the Pulwama incident, we offered India to cooperate in the probe. We know they suffered casualties.
“We offered India that we would investigate. We wanted to cooperate and were ready to do so. I feared that India would still take action and I had therefore warned India against aggression.
“When India stuck yesterday morning (on the JeM training camp at Balakot), we spoke to our Army command and waited to take action till we assessed the damage caused.
“Our action was only intended to convey that if you can come into our country, we can do the same. Two of their MiGs were shot down… From here, it is imperative that we use our heads and act with wisdom,” he said.
“All wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to. World War I was supposed to end in weeks, it took six years. Similarly, the war on terrorism was not supposed to last 17 years.
“I ask India: With the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation? If this escalates, it will no longer be in my control or in (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s.
“We understand the grief that you have suffered in Pulwama and are ready for a probe and dialogue. Let’s sit together and settle this with talks,” Khan added.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also said that his country does not want a war and asked India to come to the table to resolve all outstanding issues.
“Today’s strike demonstrates our right, will and capability to defend ourselves. We do not want war. We hope India will come to the table to resolve all outstanding issues,” Qureshi said.
His comments came hours after the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi said that Pakistan Air Force targeted military installations in India in response to Indian “counter-terrorism operations” but their attempts were foiled successfully though one Indian pilot is “missing in action”. (Agencies)