Pakistan was responsible for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama last year in which 40 Indian paramilitary troopers were killed, a Pakistani minister has told the country’s legislature, in an apparent admission of the country’s role in sponsoring cross-border terrorism.
“Humne Hindustan ko ghus ke maara (We hit India in their home). Our success in Pulwama, is a success of the people under the leadership of Imran Khan. You and us are all part of that success,” Fawad Chaudhury, a minister said in the national assembly.
As the statement sparked an uproar in the assembly, he appeared to change track, rephrasing his line as: “Pulwama ke waqiyeh ke baad, jab humne India ko ghus ke maara (When we hit India in their home after the incident at Pulwama”.
The sensational admission came amid a debate over opposition leader Ayaz Sadiq’s disclosure about a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa after an encounter between Indian and Pakistani fighter jets near the Line of Control.
Mr Qureshi told a visibly flustered General Bajwa unless he released Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman whose plane crashed across the Line of Control, India would attack Pakistan “that night by 9 pm.”
The dogfight had broken out less than 24 hours after Indian jets bombed a camp of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot, in response to the suicide attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Pulwama on February 14.
“I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting in which (Prime Minister) Imran Khan had refused to attend and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was perspiring. Foreign Minister said for god’s sake let Abhinandan go, India’s about to attack Pakistan at 9 pm,” Mr Sadiq recounted the events of the meeting.
The comment, part of an attack on the Imran Khan government by the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, has triggered a storm in Islamabad, prompting a defensive response from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.