The Pakistan Army on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of reaching any deal on the country’s “jugular vein” Kashmir, vowing to go to any lengths for Indian-occupied valley.
“I want to give this message to Kashmiris that we stand by you and will continue to do so,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor said at a news conference in the wake of India’s lock down in the occupied valley entering its second month after it stripped the disputed territory of its semi-autonomous status.
“Kashmir is our jugular vein and we will fight for it until our last bullet, soldier and breath,” he added.
Ghafoor warned India that if a nation’s sovereignty was under threat, war became a compulsion instead of a choice. “Our economy is not too weak to fight a war. To extend help to our Kashmiri brethren, we will not look at our pockets,” he added.
To a question, the military spokesperson brushed aside rumours about Pakistan striking a deal on Kashmir during Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s visit to the US.
He said: “How can you even consider that we will reach a deal on Kashmir. Any deal on Kashmir will be on our dead bodies. Our stance on Kashmir has remained unchanged for the last 72 years, why would it change now.”
The ISPR DG said the armed forces had established peace in the country and were playing their role for regional peace but a “befitting response” would be given to India if it staged any false-flag operation.
“The armed forces are prepared to deal with any situation and India should know that wars are not just fought with weapons and economy, but skills, tactics and the determination to sacrifice are also required. The armed forces of Pakistan possess those abilities.”
He revealed that besides military action, the country’s response spectrum included economy, diplomacy, finance, intelligence and other aspects.
To a query, the military spokesperson said the armed forces had already undertaken hectic exercises to respond to any aggression, but their details could not be disclosed.
To another question, the ISPR DG said India’s ‘no first use’ doctrine on nuclear weapons was its unilateral initiative.
“Pakistan has never made such a commitment or issued any statement on it. Rather, it has kept its options open. These are weapons of deterrence.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor said if India wanted to change its policy then it was its choice. “But there is a second after first,” he added.
The ISPR DG pointed out that the situation in the disputed territory had become a major threat to the region.
“India’s actions in Kashmir are sowing the seeds of war,” he added.
“We have avoided escalation [of tensions with India],” he said, elaborating that Prime Minister Imran Khan had offered an olive branch to New Delhi soon after coming to power.