Islamabad: Pakistan would neither use nuclear weapons first nor initiate any military action against India, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan said while addressing the first International Sikh convention, arranged at Governor House in Lahore. “We both are nuclear armed countries. If these tensions increase, the world could be in danger,” Khan said adding “There will be no first from our side ever,” Denouncing the idea of war, Khan said: “I do not believe that war can solve any problem. Whoever thinks that it can is not sensible. He has not read the world history. If you solve one problem by waging war, you create four more.”
“Everyone who has tried to solve problems by waging war has lost, even in victory. It takes years for a country to recover from the losses inflicted by war,” he added. Khan, however, said that he will continue to raise his voice for the residents of J&K. Khan reiterated that India's RSS was following a “totalitarian and racist ideology” that was against the teachings of any religion.
Imran threatens nuke war
Khan, who had initially claimed that India was going to carry out some action, in his words “more sinister” than the Balakot strikes, upgraded the threat to a possible nuclear confrontation when he gave an interview to the New York Times. Khan threatened the world with the spectre of a nuclear war if the global community disregards Islamabad’s dispute with New Delhi over Kashmir. In an overwrought New York Times op-ed published online, Khan wrote, “If the world does nothing to stop the Indian assault on Kashmir and its people, there will be consequences for the whole world as two nuclear-armed states get ever closer to a direct military confrontation.”
“India’s defence minister has issued a not-so-veiled nuclear threat to Pakistan by saying that the future of India’s “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons will 'depend on circumstances.' Similar statements have been made by Indian leaders periodically,” Khan wrote, without mentioning that Pakistan has an active first-use nuclear weapons policy with a very low threshold. Khan was quoted as having said that dialogue was possible only when India reversed “its illegal annexation of Kashmir, ends the curfew and lockdown, and withdraws its troops to the barracks’’.
Pakistan ready for talks
In an apparent turnaround, Pakistan's foreign minister S M Qureshi said that Pakistan was open to dialogue if India released J&K leaders and allowed him to meet them. He also said that war was not an option to deal with the issue of Kashmir. Notably, his statement comes after Khan ruled out dialogue with India until it reversed the decision to revoke J&K’s special status. This was even as India again underscored its position that talks were possible only in an environment free of terror.
Qureshi was quoted as having said that Pakistan had never said no to dialogue with India. However, he added that “we cannot see the environment of dialogue being created by India.” External affairs minister S Jaishankar had said that India was willing to discuss outstanding issues with Pakistan bilaterally in an atmosphere free of terror and violence. Jaishankar’s remarks came after his meeting with European Union commissioner Christos Stylianides in Brussels after the latter emphasised the need for India and Pakistan to restart dialogue.
Pak conducts ballistic missile test
Viewed as a scaled-up effort to internationalise the Kashmir issue and raise the chatter of waging a nuclear war against India, Pakistan conducted a training launch of the surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ghaznavi, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. The director-general of the Pakistan army’s media wing ISPR, Major General Asif Ghafoor, posted a 30-second video clip of the missile launch and claimed the exercise was successful. “Pakistan successfully carried out night training launch of surface to surface ballistic missile Ghaznavi, capable of delivering multiple types of warheads up to 290 kms (sic),” Ghafoor tweeted.
Pak minister sees war
Pakistan Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed predicted a full-blown war in October between Pakistan and India. Speaking on the Kashmir issue, Ahmed said that the time for a final freedom struggle for the Valley has come. Ahmed also appreciated its all-weather ally China, for its support to his country over the issue. He also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, callling him a "barbarian and fascist".