July 10, 2020
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"There Is A Serious Possibility Of An Indian Attack"

Ruling out the likelihood of talks with India in the immediate future, Pakistan foreign minister Gohar Ayub Khan says Islamabad is prepared for any eventuality, including a military strike by India on its nuclear installations. In fact, he warns that

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"There Is A Serious Possibility Of An Indian Attack"

How serious is the Indian threat on Kashmir?

The BJP had said that they would destroy the Babri Masjid. They did so brick by brick. Then they said during the election that they would go for the nuclear test and induct nuclear weapons. They did so. They have done it all. So, they have done all that they have said they will do. Their threat of hot pursuit today means there is a serious possibility of an attack. This is not mere rhetoric. Since the BJP came to power, the top leadership is in a state of 'nirvana'. It has told the West to go to blazes. They are really reckless. We are watching their movement very carefully. They have already moved two brigades in occupied Kashmir. If they move, there will be further repression against freedom fighters. They will also violate all human rights there. The movement in Kashmir is sustained from inside. Because if anyone other than a Kashmiri goes inside, for example an Afghan, his language, dress, features and the way he eats is totally different from the local chaps. The BJP will try a hot pursuit and strike across the line of control to destabilise and they have done it.

Is there a real possibility of an Indian attack on Pakistan's nuclear installations?

Yes, there is a very strong possibility. We have taken every precaution that is humanly possible. We are also prepared for attack from any other country (he meant Israel but did not name it). Our military placement is ready for any eventuality. Our reply will be so swift and sharp that the Indians will remember it for centuries. I don't think they will get away with such an attack. India is threatening us with the Prithvi, but if they do, we will give a swift and telling reply to their recklessness. We have small cities with small populations while the Indian cities are very big. We will retaliate with Ghauri, something for them to remember forever.

What is the scenario in which Pakistan may choose not to conduct a nuclear test?

Yes, there is a such a possibility, if we are given those weapons which restore our military and strategic balance with India and if we are given economic aid. Then perhaps the government may consider this possibility. The only possibility for prime minister Nawaz Sharif is to convince the people, the Muslim League, about a cover gap. This should be given to us in the shortest possible time, say in about a month's time. If this doesn't happen, it's a recipe for agitation against the government. This backlash will come from the Opposition, students, labour, etc. By cover gap I mean we should be given conventional weapons so advanced that they can take on the Indian conventional weapons system. But whatever has to be given should be given immediately. And we certainly can't pay for it. We will also need a financial package which the finance minister has prepared.

About the N-test, you have been saying so far that it's not a question of 'if' but 'when'.

The when is very much there.

What are the future prospects of bilateral talks?

We would like to do this with India. There is so much poverty on both sides, there is scarcity of water, sanitation, health cover, etc.But you have to remember that the Hindu fundamentalist party has been a habitual aggressor. As for the invitation of talks, the statement of the Indian prime minister indicates that they are really not interested in these talks. In the past, four times the two prime ministers have met and they didn't get anything. The two foreign ministers met and they did manage to get an agenda for the talks. The core issue is really Kashmir. The talks are very difficult in the immediate future. There was a possibility of the talks in July, but the manner in which the Indian leadership is making rash and aggressive statements, they are doing more damage than anything else.

The Indians are saying that their biggest enemy is China.

The Indian prime minister has said that India's nuclear arsenal is for defence purposes, it's not for offence. But except for the Agni, all the rest of the missiles are Pakistan specific. None of the weapons can go through the Himalayas, because if they hit there, they will not be able to stop the landslides. Even heavy equipment cannot go in that area.

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