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With the possibility of India retaliating to the Pulwama terror attack looming large, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has reportedly asked its people residing in the villages along the Line of Control (LoC) to stay alert.
According to a report by the ABP News, people living along the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have been asked to stay in underground bunkers, which could protect them from shelling or any form of attacks which could come from the other side of the border.
Pakistan's message to civil authorities in PoK was sent on Thursday, and specifically mentions Bhimber, Neelam, Rawalkot, Haweli, Kotli and Jhelum. It warns that the Indian Army can carry out an "act of violence".
The warning comes days after India in an encounter, killed three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, including a 'commander', linked to the Pulwama terror attack.
In one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir's three decades of militancy, on February 14, 2019, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a bus in Pulwama district, killing 40 CRPF personnel and leaving many critically wounded.
The responsibility for the attack was later claimed by the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed.
However, Pakistan distanced itself from the attack saying, the country was not involved in the terror strike. Pakistan PM Imran Khan in a press conference rejected India's accusation of Islamabad having a hand in the Pulwama terror attack, and said his country will retaliate in case India starts a war.
"I have been hearing and seeing on Indian media that their politicians are calling for revenge on Pakistan. If India attacks, then Pakistan will not think but retaliate,” he said.
"Starting a war is in our hands, it is easy. But ending war, that is not in our hands, and no one knows what will happen.” Khan said.
He also said that New Delhi wants to "remain stuck in the past" and make his country the "whipping boy, again and again", each time an incident happens in Kashmir.
In a video message, Imran Khan also made an offer that his country is ready to help India with any investigation it wants carried out regarding the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
"Any sort of investigation you wish carried out regarding this incident about the involvement of any Pakistani, we are ready. If you have any actionable intelligence that a Pakistani is involved. Give it to us. I guarantee you we will take action... not because we are under pressure, but because they are acting as enemies of Pakistan."
He said if someone is using Pakistan's soil [to carry out terror attacks elsewhere], "it is enmity with us. It is against our interests."
"If you (Indian govt) thinks you will attack us and we will not think of retaliating, we will retaliate. We all know starting a war is in the hands of humans, where it will lead us only God knows. This issue should be solved through dialogue,” Imran Khan said.
However, India rubbished Khan's comments, saying disclaiming Pakistan's link with terrorist attacks is an oft-repeated excuse by the "nerve centre" of terrorism.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said India was not surprised that Khan refused to acknowledge the attack on India's security forces in Pulwama as an act of terrorism, adding his offer to investigate the attack if provided proof is a "lame excuse".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the media said security forces have been given free hand to avenge the dastardly act.
"Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling...Our neighbouring country, which has been isolated internationally, thinks such terror attacks can destabilise us, but their plans will not materialise," Modi said, condemning the gruesome terror attack on the CRPF jawans in Pulwama.
Pulwama Terror Attack:
Forty Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14, 2019, when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district. It was the worst-ever attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in the state in1989.
More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Latoomode in Awantipora.
This was also the first suicide car bomb attack in Kashmir since the 2001 strike on the Legislative Assembly in which 41 people, including three suicide attackers, were killed.
The scene of Thursday's attack is not very far from the Commando Training Centre at Lethpora, which was stormed by Jaish militants on December 31, 2017, killing five CRPF personnel.
The Srinagar-Jammu national highway has been a favoured route for militants to target security forces.
The CRPF bore the brunt of a militant attack at Pampore, less than seven km from Lethpora, in June 2016, losing eight jawans while 22 others sustained injuries.
In an attack on the Uri military base in September 2016, Jaish militants killed 18 Army jawans and injured dozens of others. The ferocity of the attack led to India conducting a surgical strike against Pakistan.