Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the manner in which Pakistan had responded to Indian aggression in February 2019 was indicative of the nation’s maturity.
Addressing a ceremony in Islamabad held to commemorate ‘Pakistan’s Responsible and Resolute Response to Indian Aggression’ of Feb 26 last year, the premier said the country was prepared for India’s violations. In attendance at the ceremony were Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, ministers and other officials.
“I was very proud of how the Pakistani people dealt with the crisis,” the prime minister said. “The fact that the crisis did not aggravate and the situation didn’t worsen only shows the maturity of the Pakistani nation.”
On Feb 26, 2019, Indian planes violated Pakistani airspace and conducted air strikes inside Pakistani territory. In retaliation the next day, the Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Prime Minister Imran later decided that Pakistan would release the pilot as a peace gesture.
Prime Minister Imran said Pakistan was aware through intelligence reports that India planned to show some form of belligerence following the Pulwama attack in Indian-occupied Kashmir. “We were ready,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s entire response to Indian bombing within its territory was that of a mature country.
The premier said that the Pakistan armed forces had acted “with restraint” in response to India’s moves while the Pakistani media displayed maturity. In contrast, he said, the Indian media and politicians were beating the drums of war.
“We could have panicked … and responded to the Indian bombing on the spot. But we waited, realised the next day that there had been no casualties and then responded accordingly,” he recalled.
He also lauded the political parties in the National Assembly for coming onto one page in the wake of the Pakistan-India tensions despite their differences.
Prime Minister Imran said India today has set out on a “very dangerous path” from where it is very difficult to return.
“History shows that only bloodshed follows the kind of racist, totalitarian and fascist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) ideology adopted by [India],” he remarked.