ISLAMABAD: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was stopped from attacking Pakistan by the United States and Britain once Pakistan informed them of its clear intention to hit back three times harder if its eastern neighbour violated its territorial integrity.
India was also warned by the US that the international powers would not be able to stop the confrontation from progressing into a full-blown nuclear war.
Well-placed sources based in Washington and London have shared information with The News that Indian Prime Minister Modi conducted a meeting with his three services chiefs for hours on February 27 in the wake of the suicide attack in Pulwama on February 14 killing at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel. Modi and his generals reportedly “selected to hit at least nine targets inside Pakistan” with missiles and then “finalised” at least two cities as first targets. Government sources in Pakistan say the initial targets were most probably Karachi and Bahawalpur.
Pakistan’s elite intelligence agencies got hold of the details in time and informed the highest offices in the government following which Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the National Command Authority late on Wednesday, February 27. Established in February 2000, the NCA controls the government policy on nuclear weapons. Its members essentially include the Prime Minister, the Foreign, Defence and Interior ministers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), three Services Chiefs, Director-General of Strategic Plans Division.
Sources claim that the Pakistani meeting discussed the Indian plan in detail and went on to select 12 Indian cities that were to be hit in retaliation to the Indian aggression. “All hits were to be of conventional weapons.” Pakistan decided to hit India three times harder. “If India were to hit Pakistan with one missile, Pakistan would have reciprocated with three – on three different cities inside India.”
Once the meeting firmed up its proposed action in case India went ahead with her plan, Islamabad informed the United States and the United Kingdom of its retaliatory strategy. They were clearly told that 12 Indian cities have been shortlisted for the purpose, the sources said.
“The United States not only conveyed the Pakistani message to India – of hitting them three times harder, they also told them that nobody would be able to stop them [Pakistan]. And that the next stage could be a nuclear war,” the sources said and added that the US warning was the “only thing that forced India to back off from trying what they had planned.”
Talking to The News, an influential cabinet minister has confirmed that the government was made aware of the Indian intention to attack Pakistan with missiles. “Our understanding was that the Indians were planning to hit our military targets – at least at three different locations.”
Well-placed Western sources are not ruling out the possibility of New Delhi also talking to Washington, London and a few other European capitals about plans to hit selected targets inside Pakistan. “It would be hard to say if the Indians had informed important world capitals of their intended plans. But as an important country in the region with strong relations with the West, there is a likelihood that they might have. After all, help from those capitals would have been a must to stop the confrontation from escalation,” said one of the key officials of CTD Advisers, a London-based strategic intelligence firm with global presence. The official requested anonymity.
Indian fighter jets crossed into Pakistan for a few nautical miles on February 26 and quickly retreated when challenged by the Pakistan Air Force warplanes. They jettisoned their payload on their way back near Balakot in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. A few pine trees were felled and a lot of dirt was dug up. One person was injured in the incident. India claimed to have hit the alleged training camps of the proscribed militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed and killing over 300 “under-training terrorists”. All claims have since been challenged and proved wrong.
Pakistan denies the Indian allegations of complicity in the Pulwama attack and has been asking the world powers to take notice of the Indian aggression. Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly said Pakistan would take the strictest possible action against any group involved in the incident if India provided “actionable intelligence”.
He informed a joint session of the Pakistani Parliament of his failed attempts to contact Prime Minister Modi and his government’s contact campaign with friendly countries to intervene to de-escalate the dangerously volatile nuclear stand-off between the two South Asian neighbours.
ISLAMABAD : Two Pakistan Army soldiers embraced martyrdom in unprovoked and indiscriminate firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) on Saturday, said a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The latest aggressive move by India came on the same day that Pakistan released an Indian Air Force (IAF) wing commander who was shot down while engaging Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets.
The army’s media wing named the martyred soldiers as Havaldar Abdur Rub and Naik Khuram.
Hotspring, Tatta Pani and Jandrot sectors of the LoC came under Indian fire and the civilian population residing in the areas were also hit by Indian shelling, as a result, at least two civilians were martyred and just as many were injured.
In response, the Pakistan Army targetted the Indian posts and “gave a befitting response” and there were reports of casualties to Indian troops and damage to their posts.
‘Won’t allow Pakistani soil to be used for terrorism against any state’
The injured were shifted to a hospital in Kotli.
The military’s media wing added that the armed forces, including PAF and Pakistan Navy remain on alert.
Tensions between Pakistan and India escalated rapidly following a suicide car bombing that killed at least 44 Indian paramilitary police in IoK on February 14.
Imran Khan wins praise over captured pilot’s release
Two Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft were shot down on Wednesday by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Indian targets across the Line of Control (LoC) were struck by Pakistani fighter jets from within friendly airspace as the country’s armed forces struck back after unprovoked Indian aggression a day earlier.
According to the military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor, the Indian aircraft crossed the LoC, the PAF retaliated and two Indian aircraft were shot down in Pakistani airspace.
Pakistan on Friday returned the captive Indian pilot as a gesture of peace. He was in Pakistani custody – after being shot down by PAF – for 58 hours.
We still seem to be in the middle of it. We have perhaps entered the mediatory phase with the US leading the intervention with China, Russia and Europe joining in. But the actual talk, it seems, is being carried out with the combatants by the leadership of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
From the way things are shaping up we seem to be confronted with a second Simla but without a Bhutto who had managed to save Kashmir from the ashes of Bangladesh war. There was nothing between Indian troops and the Azad Kashmir then, but Bhutto produced a miracle out of his Simla.
This time, things look much more serious because of the famous ‘tilt’ of many in the world in favour of India.
Meanwhile, India on Wednesday handed over a dossier to Pakistan with “details” regarding the Pulwama attack. In another development, PM Khan announced the release of an Indian pilot downed by Pakistan.
Indeed, had it not been for our Armed Forces’ training all these 71 years keeping close tabs on India’s strategies and tactics to catch Pakistan by surprise, it would have appeared the final call on Kashmir on Monday last when the Indian Air Force went all the way to Balakot, near Abbottabad and were chased back within minutes. Next morning, they came back not to be chased out but to be downed—as many as two — with one pilot captured. India had a black face. So talks of mediation got started in right earnest.
If Jaish-e-Mohammad has no link to the Pulwama attack or the video claiming its responsibility, then Maulana Azhar is in Pakistan and should have immediately denied any links with the attack. The absence of denial could have serious consequences. Now the Indian narrative is being supported by most of the world.
Maulana Azhar and/or JeM have in the past had taken responsibility for attacks in Kashmir yet he has not been convicted in Pakistan for lack of evidence.
Earlier, on Sept 21, 2016 three former foreign secretaries and one former National Security Adviser (Inamul Haq, Riaz Khokhar, Riaz Mohammad Khan and General Durrani) writing in a column in a leading national daily warned: “Nothing will help India more than an evidence of outside militant elements blending with the indigenous Kashmiri uprising to justify its extreme violence in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and its aggressive posture against Pakistan. We should be open to cooperating with any investigation into the Uri attack.”
And recently these three former foreign secretaries writing in a national daily on February 24, 2019 had said “Every act of violence in the past, be it the attack on the Indian parliament or the Mumbai attacks or Pathankot and Uri incidents have been exploited to the maximum by India to malign Pakistan and distract attention from the deteriorating human rights situation in IOK. All these acts have damaged the Kashmiri cause and Pakistan. There is no conceivable advantage that Pakistan could expect from Pulwama.
“This argument is challenged by the view that in the past Pakistan’s policy encouraged non-state actors, such as the proscribed JeM and LeT. Pakistan carries this baggage of history, like most other nations inherit burdens from the past. Pakistan has suffered massively on this count. Thousands of our soldiers were martyred and tens of thousands of our people lost their lives in fighting terror. We still have unfinished business, but we have to overcome this difficult challenge. Autonomous armed groups in a country are a recipe for doom. Pakistan must implement its National Action Plan in letter and spirit.”
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