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Pakistan-India cannot afford any miscalculation: Imran Khan

28 February, 2019

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Asking its eastern neighbour to exhibit prudence and sanity, Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said Pakistan and India cannot afford any miscalculation and that dialogue is the only option to address their issues.

The prime minister’s televised remarks came hours after Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace and arrested an Indian pilot on ground.

“History tells us that wars are full of miscalculation. My question is that, given the weapons we have, can we afford miscalculation,” Imran said in his address to the nation hours after the PAF shot down two MiG-21 aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

Taking the nation into confidence, the prime minister said it is important for Pakistan and India to exhibit prudence and sanity as all big wars in the history happened because of miscalculation. He said the major world wars were rooted in miscalculation. “All wars have been miscalculated. First World War was supposed to end in weeks, it took six years. The point came in the Second World War when Hitler thought that he would conquer Russia but he had not thought that it would have to be delayed due to cold weather of Russia and he faced defeat. Similarly, the US never expected the war on terrorism to last for 17 years. Moreover, US had not thought about the long Vietnam War. History has taught us that all wars were the result of miscalculations,” he said.

Imran Khan said despite his assurances, he had doubt that India would not listen to his advice, keeping in view forthcoming general election. He said he had warned India that Pakistan would be forced to retaliate in case of any misadventure. He said Pakistan offered India cooperation as it is not in Pakistan’s own interest to let its soil used against any other country. He said Pakistan was fully prepared as it had doubts that India would indulge in any misadventure after the Pulwama incident. “Yet, I had still feared that India would ignore the offer and still take action, and I had therefore warned India against aggression and said we will be compelled to respond because no sovereign country can allow the violation of its sovereignty and did not allow any other country to decide about the crime and assume the role of judge, jury and execution,” he said. “Moreover, I had the fear that India would act because of their upcoming elections, therefore, I had told India that Pakistan will respond,” he added.

“We did not respond in haste as we did not have a complete assessment of the damage caused and it would have been irresponsible on our part as it may have resulted in casualties on their side. Once we assessed the damage caused, we were ready to take action,” the prime minister said. “The sole purpose of our action is to convey that if you can come into our country, we can do the same. That is the only purpose of what we did. Two of their MiGs (aircraft) were shot down by Pakistani forces after they crossed over into our territory. And I want to tell that their pilots are with us,” he added.

“I once again invite you: we are ready. We are ready for any sort of dialogue. I reiterate that better sense should prevail. Let’s sit together and settle this with talks,” he concluded.

“I understand the pain of the families who lost family members in Pulwama. I have visited hospitals and seen the pain of people affected by violence in Pakistan. We have lost 70,000 of our own people during the last 10 years and I can realize the pain and suffering of the survivors and the injured who were crippled and who lost their eyes, he said.

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