FM Qureshi warns world of Indian troop movement, missile deployment in IoK

"Do not mistake the wish for peace by Pakistan as a sign of weakness," the foreign minister says

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Web Desk

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday warned India of a timely and befitting response to any aggression along the Line of Control (LoC), and expressed concerns over military movement, missile deployment in occupied Kashmir, and adoption of discriminatory laws by New Delhi.

In a video statement released on Thursday morning, the minister outlined in detail a string of measures taken by the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent months, and explained how these measures reflected the intentions of India with regards to maintaining peace and stability in the region. 

Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat, in suggestive and provocative remarks, had on Wednesday said that the situation along the LoC could escalate any time and that the Indian army was prepared for the spiraling of the escalation matrix, The Times of India had reported. 

FM Qureshi termed the remarks by the Indian COAS as careless, saying: "Our intelligence informs us of extraordinary movement on the LoC. Deployments, extraordinary movement, new laws, all of this points to the impure intentions of India." 

"On behalf of the people of Pakistan, I want to say to Indian PM Modi that we are a peaceful people, but do not forget February 27. If there is aggression, if there is an operation, if Pakistan is attacked based on a false pretext, than the armed forces of Pakistan are ready," he added.

Qureshi said that timely and befitting response would be meted out to any Indian misadventure on the border, and that the whole country would stand by the army and the people of occupied Kashmir. "Do not commit the mistake," he warned. 

Earlier today, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor had also accused Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat of passing "provocative remarks" and using tension along the Line of Control to drive attention away from internal chaos in India over the successful passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Act in parliament. 

'Pakistan gravely concerned over new developments'

FM Qureshi, in the video statement today, also said that Pakistan was gravely concerned about new developments in the region. The minister said that he had penned a letter to the president of the United Nations on the matter, and was hopeful of the UN taking action on it. 

"In the letter, I have highlighted new measures adopted by India. The first of these is the ceasefire violations along the LoC. Since January 2019, there have been 3,000 ceasefire violations, and around 300 innocent people, including women and children, have been targeted," he said.

Qureshi also said the barbed wire along the border between Pakistan and India has been damaged in five places. Pakistan has identified the five places, and referred the matter to the UN, he added. "Does India want another misadventure along the LoC? Pakistan is gravely concerned about these developments," the minister said.

"In addition, new deployments have been done. These include deployment of missiles in occupied Kashmir and deployment of anti-tank missiles, which is a cause of concern. The missile tests carried out by India since August 2019 also betray the dangerous intentions of India," he added. 

'Matter raised before the United Nations'

According to Qureshi, China shared the concerns raised by Pakistan in the letter and has asked the United Nations to convene a meeting on the matter. "In reference to this letter, China, for the second time this year, requested the United Nations to look into the complaints," he said.

Qureshi urged the UN to take up the matter and call for an independent inquiry into the matter. "We request the UN observers present on both sides of the LoC conduct an independent inquiry of the matter and brief the UN in this regard," Qureshi remarked. 

'India took merciless actions'

While commenting on the string of measures adopted by India that were a cause of concern to Pakistan, Qureshi said that there was a clear pattern visible in them that spoke volumes about the true intentions of the Modi government with regards to the treatment of minorities. 

"First, they take the measures adopted on August 5, on which the whole of Kashmir is protesting. The world has seen those protests. They have even been held in world capitals, at the US Congress, European Union, House of Commons," he said. 

"Now, we believe that after these protests, in order to crush them, India took merciless actions, including the curfew in occupied Kashmir, which is still in place after 136 days. All basic human rights have been put on hold. there is a communication blackout," Qureshi informed.

The minister also expressed disbelief over the fact that the media was not allowed to go into the area. "International observers are not allowed to go there either, and even the diplomats are barred from visiting the area," he said. 

'Citizenship Act against spirit of Indian Constitution'

According to the minister, alongside the draconian measures in occupied Kashmir, the court verdict on the Babri mosque further alienated the 200-million strong Muslim minority of the Hindu-majority country. "Even non-Muslim minorities are under pressure in India," he said. 

FM Qureshi further said that the new citizenship act was a discriminatory law. "This law is against the spirit of the Indian constitution. It is against international religious freedom. it is trampling upon basic human rights," he said, adding that "we are concerned India is planning a drama to divert the attention of the world away from the protests over the act."