Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting of the National Command Authority, which controls the country’s nuclear arsenal, on Wednesday, hours after India launched an airstrike on a terrorist camp in Balakot in response to the Pulwama attack two weeks ago.
“The 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 civil and military brass “concluded that India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing,” it added.
Pakistan further rejected India’s claim of targeting terrorist camp in the country and causing heavy casualties even as it vowed to respond “at the time and place of its choosing” and raise the issue at the United Nations.
India bombed and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control, early Tuesday.
“This action has been done for domestic consumption in the election environment, putting regional peace and stability at grave risk,” said the statement issued by the office of Prime Minister Imran Khan, referring to general elections in India that start in two months.
The ministers of defence and finance, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said during a press conference that Pakistan will “respond to the Indian aggression.”
Flanked by Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattack and Finance Minister Asad Umar, the foreign minister dismissed Indian claim of destroying terror camps of banned JeM in Balakot. “There was no presence of any such camp(s),” he asserted.
“The Indian planes entered some three to four kilometers inside Pakistani air space and released payload when Pakistan Air Force plane scrambled,” he said.
“Do not underestimate us. We have our own sense of timing and we will act and react. Pakistan will do what Pakistan should do,” he said and added “we will not disappoint the people of Pakistan.”