Pakistanis stand behind army to counter ‘any aggression:’ Minister - GulfToday

Pakistanis stand behind army to counter ‘any aggression:’ Minister


Shah Mehmood Qureshi addresses a news conference in Islamabad. File

Tariq Butt / Agencies

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the whole nation stands behind the armed forces, who are fully prepared to counter “any aggression” by India.

Qureshi made these remarks  while addressing a public meeting at Rangeel Pur in Punjab.

“Pakistan has an army of 220 million people, including the youth, students, labourers, farmers and others, who are at the back of their forces,” the minister said.

Talking about the situation in Kashmir, Qureshi said that India had on many occasions promised at the UN that it would hold a referendum in the valley, but never delivered.

Qureshi said that Modi had “even lost the support of pro-government leaders of Kashmir.”

“If the Modi government has courage, it should lift curfew and see how the people of Kashmir would respond by coming into the streets.”

The foreign minister said that irrespective of the fact that whether the other countries supported the Kashmiris or not, Pakistan would continue to raise its voice for their right to self-determination and extend them its full support.

Meanwhile, a report said that Pakistan has refused to engage in backdoor diplomacy with India after some powerful countries sought de-escalation in the brewing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours over Kashmir.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was also requested to tone down his verbal attacks on his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in which he equated him with Adolf Hitler.

However, Pakistan has turned down the requests and made it clear that it would only engage with India through quiet or conventional diplomacy after New Delhi was persuaded to meet certain conditions, unnamed officials were quoted as saying, according to the report.

These conditions include lifting of the curfew and other restrictions imposed in Kashmir, a day before India stripped the disputed region of its special status on Aug.5.

While the international interlocutors were willing to persuade India to ease some of the restrictions imposed in Kashmir, they requested Pakistan to stop targeting Modi.

Since Aug.5, Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly targeted the Indian prime minister, questioning his links with Hindu extremist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and even equating him with Hitler.

Also during the day , it was reported that a corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims travelling to a holy temple in Pakistan will open in November, in time for one of the religion’s most sacred festivals.

The visa-free border crossing from India to Kartarpur, Pakistan will be inaugurated on Nov.9, just ahead of the 550th birthday of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak on Nov.12, Pakistani project director Atif Majeed said on Monday.

The project is a rare recent example of cooperation between the nuclear powers, who came close to war in February following a militant attack on police in Kashmir.

The Sikh minority community in India’s northern state of Punjab and elsewhere has long sought easier access to the temple in Kartarpur, a village just over the border in Muslim-majority Pakistan. The temple marks the site where the guru died.

Earlier, thousands of tribesmen participated in a long march from Peshawar Motorway Toll Plaza to Muzaffarabad to express solidarity with Kashmiris.

According to details, the tribes of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) raised slogans across the Peshawar Motorway against the ongoing atrocities in Kashmir.

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