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Battle-hardened army will teach India hard lesson in case of ‘misadventure’: Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: In his fresh anti-India rhetoric, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that his country’s battle-hardened army will teach India a “hard lesson” in case of “any misadventure” by New Delhi.

Addressing a rally in Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on the ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, Khan asked the Indian leadership to avoid threats of attacks.

“Narendra Modi, the statement you gave on this country, and the Indian army chief, this is my message to you both: You have already made a mistake on August 5,” Khan said, referring to the abrogation of Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Khan said that more than “200 million people of Pakistan and its battle-hardened army will teach India a hard lesson”, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

“If you are under the false impression that you will take any action against Pakistan to strengthen your Hindu voter base, it will be the last mistake you make,” said Khan.

He was referring to Prime Minister Modi’s address to the National Cadet Corps in New Delhi last month where he said the Indian armed forces won’t take more than a week to ten days to make Pakistan bite the dust.

“He (Modi) thought he would end the issue of Kashmir altogether but the way the issue has been internationalised, there is talk of Kashmir where it was never before discussed,” Khan said, adding that Pakistan would always stand by the people of Kashmir and fight alongside them.

Pakistan’s military top brass also termed the recent statements by India as “irresponsible” and said they would thwart any attack by the Indian Army.

Army spokesman said that the 229th Corps Commanders Conference held a meeting chaired by Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday during which they reviewed geo-strategic environment, with special focus on internal security and situation on borders.

“Provocative statements of Indian leadership are irresponsible rhetoric with implications for region. Pakistan Armed Forces are forces of order and peace and fully prepared to thwart any misadventure, whatever the cost,” the spokesman quoted the commanders saying in the meeting.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said on Thursday that Kashmir was the core issue of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

“We take the cause of Jammu and Kashmir very seriously. It is the core issue of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The observation that the Foreign Office is not taking it seriously is not accurate,” she said at the weekly press briefing, dismissing the criticism within the country over its handling of the issue.

Farooqui said that Pakistan took the case of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to all international fora including at the UN Security Council, UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, OIC, Global Refugee Forum and World Economic Forum.

“Pakistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have never been shy or negligent towards this core issue of our foreign policy. We are dedicated in taking it forward,” she asserted.

To a question, she said that Pakistan took the issue of a protest outside its embassy in Kabul with the Afghan authorities.

She said the venue of the ‘Kashmir Day’ event was changed in Kabul due to the protest and “the matter was officially taken up with the Afghan authorities”.

She also said Pakistan was closely following the developments regarding the US-Taliban peace talks.

To another question, she said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would as visit Pakistan next week as per schedule agreed by both the sides.

Responding to a question about the coronavirus outbreak in China, she said the Chinese government was providing all the necessary support and treatment not only to Pakistani students and citizens but all in Wuhan city and other parts of the country.