Addressing the media following a consultative meeting held at the Foreign Office in view of the worsening situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir after the Pulwama attack, the foreign minister reiterated that Pakistan is a peaceful country but it will not be pressured by India’s aggressive designs.
“Pakistan is a peaceful country. But [I have a] clear message for India: if you think we can be pressured, then stop thinking this,” he said, adding, “Pakistan’s military, political leadership, and the entire nation stands united with Kashmiris and their struggle.”
Qureshi’s message comes in the wake of increased tensions between India and Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama attack, in which more than 40 Indian soldiers were killed. New Delhi piled the blame on Islamabad for the attack, which was strongly refuted by the Pakistani leadership.
Drawing attention to the plight of the Kashmiris, who have faced a violent backlash from Indian troops in the occupied valley in the aftermath of the attack, Qureshi said the youth of occupied Kashmir will not be subdued.
“The Kashmiri youth will not be subdued or suppressed,” the foreign minister said, as he reminded India of the words said by former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, “you can [put them in prison] but you cannot imprison their thoughts.”
Qureshi regretted the recent deployment of an additional 10,000 Indian soldiers in the valley and the dozens of arrests carried out in the wake of the attack.
“Kashmiri Hurriyet leadership is being expelled, there is fear in the valley, dozens of people are being arrested,” he lamented, as he called on India to end its war-mongering tactics.
“Pakistan is taking steps to ease the tensions. I urge the Indian leadership to exercise restraint and to ends its irresponsible attitude,” Qureshi said.
He also called on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) government to stop fueling hatred for the purpose of furthering its agenda ahead of the elections, while condemning the killing of a Pakistani prisoner in India and threats to a bakery in Bangalore named after Karachi.