In a bid to defuse the escalating tension between the two nuclear-tipped arch rivals, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he stands by his words of taking action if India provides actionable information on Pulwama attack.
“If India gives us actionable intelligence [on February 14 suicide attack], we will immediately act,” Prime Minister Imran said in a statement on Sunday. “PM Modi should give peace a chance,” he added.
On Saturday while addressing a rally in Rajasthan, the Indian premier threw a challenge to his Pakistani counterpart, asking him ‘to act honourably by bringing to justice those responsible for the Pulwama attack’.
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At least 44 paramilitary soldiers were killed and many others injured when a young Kashmiri man targeted a convoy with a car bomb at Awantipora in Pulwama district of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), in what is said to be the worst attack ever on security personnel in the territory.
Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which Delhi claims operates from Pakistan, purportedly claimed credit for the deadliest attack on Indian troops in IoK. Delhi put the blame squarely on Pakistan, deployed its troops menacingly close to the border and started issuing threats.
In today’s statement, PM Imran recalled his last conversation with Modi, saying: “In my meeting with PM Modi in December 2015, we had agreed that since poverty alleviation is a priority for our region, we would not allow any terrorist incident to derail peace efforts.”
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PM Imran added, “Long before Pulwama, these efforts were derailed in September 2018. Sadly, now peace remains elusive due to elections in India.”
On Sunday, Modi promised a strong response to the attack, saying in a monthly radio broadcast that it had caused anguish to victims’ families and all of India.
“This attack has filled us with angst and pain and these emotions are shared by the people of the world and those who believe in humanity,” Modi said. “Within 100 hours of the attack, our soldiers have given them a befitting reply.”
Modi said the army had vowed to destroy the militants and those who helped them.
Kashmir is likely to be a key election issue, distracting from concerns about how Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have managed the economy.