ISLAMABAD, Feb 22, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Pakistan’s military warned India on Friday against “misadventure”, saying it was capable of responding to any threats as tensions simmer between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
“We hope you will not mess up with us,” military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor told a press briefing in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, the second such message Pakistan has sent to New Delhi in as many days.
Tensions have risen in the days following a suicide attack in Kashmir that killed 41 Indian paramilitaries and was claimed by Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), based in Pakistan.
There have been calls in India for retaliation, but Pakistan — which denies aiding the militants — has threatened to respond in kind.
“We don’t want to go into war with India but if India initiates any aggression, they will never be able to surprise us,” Ghafoor said.
“Let me make it clear that we will defend every inch of our country till the last breath and last bullet”.
The powerful military’s reaction came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan authorised the country’s armed forces to “respond decisively and comprehensively” to any Indian threat.
The militant group JeM is one of several anti-Indian outfits fighting in Kashmir.
Officially outlawed in Pakistan, India nevertheless accuses Pakistan as using the groups as proxies.
On Friday, Pakistan’s interior ministry announced that authorities had seized control of a complex believed to be the JeM headquarters.
“Punjab provincial government has taken over control of a campus comprising a seminary and a mosque in Bahawalpur, reportedly the headquarters of JeM,” an interior ministry spokesman said in a statement.
“The action was taken in line with the decision of the National Security Committee”, which met on Thursday, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The Bahawalpur seminary campus, located in central Pakistan, has a faculty of 70 teachers and 600 students, the statement added.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir since the end of British rule in the sub-continent in 1947.