ACROSS LOC Pak­istan calls it a lie, says it was bor­der fir­ing

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Im­tiaz Ah­mad

In­tent for a peace­ful neigh­bour­hood should not be mis­taken as its weak­ness... Pak­istan can thwart any evil de­sign to un­der­mine its sovereignty. NAWAZ SHARIF, Pak­istani Prime Minister

IS­LAM­ABAD: Pak­istan on Thurs­day de­nied that In­dian troops had car­ried out sur­gi­cal strikes across the Line of Con­trol, say­ing it had re­sponded to “cross-bor­der fire” from the In­dian side that killed two sol­diers and in­jured nine more.

For­eign sec­re­tary Aizaz Chaudhry sum­moned In­dian en­voy Gau­tam Bam­bawale on Thurs­day evening and re­jected the “so-called sur­gi­cal strikes” and con­demned what he de­scribed as “un­pro­voked fir­ing” by In­dian forces on the LOC, state-run Ra­dio Pak­istan said.

Chaudhry said the Pak­istan mil­i­tary “will con­tinue to give a be­fit­ting re­sponse to any act of ag­gres­sion”. He added that In­dia had es­ca­lated ten­sions on the LOC to di­vert attention from the “grave hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion” in Kash­mir.

Pak­istan’s civil and mil­i­tary lead­er­ship re­acted af­ter In­dia’s Direc­tor Gen­eral of Mil­i­tary Op­er­a­tions (DGMO) Lt Gen Ran­bir Singh said In­dian sol­diers con­ducted sur­gi­cal strikes on ter­ror­ist launch pads across the LOC, caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant ca­su­al­ties.

The first re­ac­tion came from the Pak­istan mil­i­tary’s me­dia arm, which said in a strongly worded state­ment: “There has been no sur­gi­cal strike by In­dia in­stead there had been cross-bor der fire ini­ti­ated and con­ducted by In­dia which is ex­is­ten­tial phe nomenon.”

The mil­i­tary dis­missed the sur­gi­cal strikes as an “il­lu­sion” while de­fence minister Khawaja Asif re­ferred to them as “a lie” The mil­i­tary also said “if there is a sur­gi­cal strike on Pak­istani soil same will be strongly re­sponded”

Asif said Pak­istani troops had re­sponded to “small weapons fire in five sec­tors along the LOC” that killed two sol­diers and in­jured nine oth­ers. “If In­dia tries to do this again, we will re­spond force­fully,” said Asif, who had on Mon­day warned that Pak­istan would use its nu­clear weapons to an­ni­hi­late In­dia if the coun­try’s sur­vival was threat­ened.

GURINDER OSAN/HT FILE PHOTO

Sol­diers guard the for­ward posts in Hamir­pur area near Bhim­ber Gali, close to where Wed­nes­day’s strikes took place.

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