Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that Pakistan’s offer of “friendship” to India should not be considered as its weakness and the Indian leadership should shun “arrogance” and hold peace talks.
“I hope the Indian leadership will shun arrogance and hold (peace) talks with Pakistan,” Khan told bureaucrats from Punjab. “Our offer of friendship should not be considered as our weakness. Friendship between Pakistan and India will help overcome poverty.”
Pakistan “should not be threatened as it will not tolerate any act of hostility,” Khan said, adding, “we will not take pressure of any world power.”
Khan’s comments came as the opposition blamed him for appearing too eager for peace.
“The bellicose & irresponsible statement by the Indian army chief exposes the Indian designs to the world that should immediately take note of New Delhi’s threatening posture,” opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif tweeted. “Pakistan extending an olive branch to India should never be misconstrued as weakness.”
PPP vice president Sherry Rehman said the government should have done its homework before approaching India for a meeting.
On Saturday, director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said Pakistan is a nuclear power and its desire for peace should not be misconstrued as weakness. “If someone tests our patience, we will give a befitting reply to it and not disappoint the nation,” he told a private TV channel.
“We are on positive trajectory of peace and stability after having gone through efforts over the last two decades. We understand the value of peace and shall not allow it to be reversed.”
Rejecting allegations of Pakistan mutilating the body of an Indian soldier, Ghafoor said the Pakistan Army is a professional force and can never undertake such non-professional action.
Pakistani information minister Fawad Chaudhry said dialogue was the only way forward to solve outstanding issues.