Pakistan’s political leaders Thursday supported Prime Minister Imran Khan’s peace initiative to defuse rising tensions with India in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, saying war was not a solution to problems between the two countries.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imaran Khan said Thursday Pakistan was ready for talks with India on all issues including terrorism, maintaining that dialogue is the “only way” for peace and stability in the region.
Chairing a Cabinet meeting, Khan briefed the members about the latest developments in the Indo-Pak relations following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
Almost all political leaders, who spoke during the joint session of Parliament convened to discuss the security situation, said that war was not a solution of the problems.
They, however, said Pakistan should fight back if a war was imposed on it.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz representative and joint opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif in his speech fully supported the government initiative to engage in peace diplomacy with India to end the current tension.
Noting that Kashmir problem should be resolved, Sharif said to “hold Pakistan responsible for Kashmiri resistance is an age-old tactic employed by India”.
“The world should understand, that in the presence of all these things, there can never be peace. In this situation, I believe more Burhan Wanis will be born,” he warned.
Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM terror group.
India carried out air strikes against the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In the operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for suicide attacks were eliminated. The facility at Balakot was headed by Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of the JeM chief.
Pakistan on Wednesday claimed it shot down two Indian fighter jets over Pakistani air space and arrested a pilot. Later, Prime Minister Khan said that Pakistan will release the captured Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as a goodwill gesture.
Sharif also lauded the armed forces for their retaliatory action against “Indian intrusions”.
“PAF fighters deserve praise. They have made the nation proud. It has been proven that our armed forces will defend every inch of this land and not hesitate from making any sacrifices,” he said.
Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf welcomed the goodwill gesture by the government to release the captured pilot.
He also said that Pakistan Army was ready to face any threat and will retaliate with full power if a war was imposed.
“We are blessed with one of the best armies but we do not want to escalate,” he said.
He, however, urged the government not to boycott the OIC meeting over the issue of the invitation to Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Railway minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that the initiative of prime minister Khan was laudable but doubted that the Indian leadership was serious about peace with Pakistan.
“What is the guarantee for peace with India if another attack occurs, and again India blamed Pakistan?” he asked.
PML-N leader Senator Raja Zafarul Haq said peace was important for the two countries.