Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday “strongly rejected India’s claim” of targeting a terrorist camp near Balakot and causing heavy casualties, even as it vowed to respond “at the time and place of its choosing” to what it called was India’s “uncalled for aggression”.
At a special meeting of the National Security Committee hours after India’s air strikes in Balakot inside Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the armed forces and the people of Pakistan to remain prepared for all eventualities.
India bombed and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp in Pakistan early Tuesday, killing a “very large number” of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders, officials said in New Delhi.
“Forum (NSC) strongly rejected Indian claim of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties. Once again Indian government has resorted to a self-serving, reckless and fictitious claim,” said a statement issued after the NSC meeting in Islamabad.
The country’s top security body “concluded that India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing,” it added.
It also invited the world media to see the facts on ground and proposed a visit to the site. The statement claimed that the “action has been done for domestic consumption being in election environment, putting regional peace and stability at grave risk.”
To take the nation on board, the government has decided to requisition a joint session of the Parliament, the statement said.
Prime Minister Khan also summoned a special meeting of the National Command Authority (NCA) on Wednesday. Khan will also engage with global leadership to “expose irresponsible” Indian policy in the region, the statement added.
Later addressing a joint press conference with the ministers of defence and finance, Qureshi asserted that Pakistan will “respond to Indian aggression.”
He announced that a three-member committed, including him, finance minister and defence minister, has been formed to approach the parliament to take the people and other parties into confidence on the evolving situation.
Responding to questions, Qureshi claimed that “multi-dimensional intrusion” was attempted by the Indian fighter jets early Tuesday. “But the intervention by Pakistani jets forced them to return back within minutes.”
He dismissed the notion that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets were late in responding to the Indian attack, saying PAF jets were “ready” and “air-borne.”
Describing the situation following the Indian air strikes as “serious”, Qureshi said that Prime Minister Khan also had telephonic conversations with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as well as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the issue.