Kashmir Indepth

Pakistan didn’t release Indian pilot due to pressure or compulsion, says Qureshi


Pakistan has said that they did not release Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman due to any pressure or compulsion.

In an interview with BBC Urdu, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, There was no pressure on Pakistan to release him nor any compulsion. We wanted to convey to them (India) that we do not want to increase your sorrow, we do not want your citizens to be miserable, we want peace.

Pakistan does not want the peace of the region to be risked over politics, Qureshi added.

The Minister reiterated that if evidence was shared against the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) then action will be taken.

Pakistan will not allow anti-state elements to risk the peace of the country or the region. We plan on taking action against extremist groups, Qureshi said.

Earlier Qureshi, in an interview with CNN, said that if India has solid evidence regarding Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar’s involvement in the Pulwama attack on February 14 it should share that with Pakistan so we can convince the judiciary and the people.

When asked how he would respond to Indian concerns regarding Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), he said: My message to the Indians is that this is a new government that has a new mindset. We want to live in peace. We have a people-centric agenda.

We want to concentrate on fixing the economy, We want to improve governance and eradicate corruption in Pakistan.

That’s the mandate given to us.

We want to see peace and reconciliation in Pakistan and the region. The western front is consuming us  we do not want [escalation on the] eastern front.

The policy of our government is that we will not allow our soil to be used by any organisation or individual for militancy  against anyone and that includes India.

The tensions between the two countries have escalated following the Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir which killed 49 CRPF personnel and which was claimed by militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Following the attack, the Foreign Secretary of India had said on Tuesday that they have struck the biggest camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot in the pre-dawn preemptive strikes across the Line of Control.

India struck the biggest camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot and a large number of militants, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis planning militant strikes were eliminated Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said.

Gokhale had added that India’s non-military preemptive action  was specifically targeted at the Jaish-e-Mohammed camp.

“Credible intelligence was received that Jaish-e-Mohammed was attempting another suicide militant attack in various parts of the country and Fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose,” he had said.

“India has given proof many times seeking action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and others at militant camps so big, that they can train hundreds of jihadis and militants any given time.

But due to Pakistan’s inaction, this step was necessary and had to be taken,” he had said.

Earlier, India has said that they carried out a pre-dawn strike on a ‘militant camp’ across the Line of Control soon after Pakistan army said that Indian fighter jets were forced to leave after they crossed the LoC in Muzaffarabad sector.

According to reports, the strike was carried out at around 3:30 Tuesday morning by 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets.

The aircraft dropped, according to reports, ‘1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on a major militant camp across the Line of Control, completely destroying it’, news agency ANI reported, quoting Air Force sources.

Earlier, Pakistan Army claimed that the Indian military planes “intruded” from the Muzaffarabad sector but were forced to go back after Pakistan Air Force “immediately scrambled”.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan during a joint Parliament session on Thursday said that as a gesture of peace, they would return captured Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan to India.

He further stated that he was ready for talks with India and de-escalate tensions between both countries.

During the session, he said that the reason of escalation between India and Pakistan was the Kashmir dispute.

“All of this is because of Kashmir,” PM Khan said while addressing a joint session of parliament.

“I want to ask the Indian public about all that has happened over the past 4 years.

There is an indigenous movement in Kashmir.

At one point, Kashmiri leaders had not wanted separation, but because of Indian brutality, today all they demand is independence.”


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