Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said he had credible information that India was planning a surgical strike against Pakistan to divert attention from its internal affairs. The foreign minister made this statement at a press conference in Abu Dhabi, where he is ending a two-day visit during which he held meetings with the top brass of the Emirati leadership.
At the presser, Qureshi summed up his engagements with the UAE leadership over the last two days but also touched on the designs of India, which he said were “picked up by intelligence”.
“An important development has cropped up […] I’ve learned through our intelligence forces […] that India is planning a surgical strike against Pakistan,” said Qureshi.
Terming it a “serious development” he further elaborated that India is already “trying to seek tacit approval” from what Qureshi said were “important players who they consider to be their partners”.
The minister said in his opinion this operation was being planned so India could divert attention from “serious internal issues” and as a means to unify divisions in the country.
Qureshi noted that Pakistan had revealed “India sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan” through a dossier that it shared with the international community.
He also mentioned the recent report by the EU DisinfoLab which exposed an Indian disinformation network of “fake websites and fake NGOs that they had launched with a sole objective to malign Pakistan”.
Army on high alert
This announcement comes on the heels of an already tense atmosphere.
Informed sources told Dawn earlier this month that the Pakistan Army had been put on high alert amidst a possible threat of another attempt by India to conduct a surgical strike inside Pakistani territory.
They said that after facing a humiliating defeat in Ladakh and Doklam, India was preparing to launch another attack on the Line of Control (LoC) and across the Working Boundary at Pulwama, posing a threat to the regional peace and stability.
An official said a “false flag operation” was being planned by India to divert the world’s attention from several of its internal issues, including the ongoing farmers’ protest, its treatment of minorities, atrocities committed by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and criticism of its policies by international institutions and media.
“India may at any time repeat a Pulwama-like drama to divert attention from the internal problems and was planning an action along the LoC and Working Boundary,” he said.
In 2016, India had claimed to have carried out a surgical strike on the LoC, a claim rubbished by Pakistan. Similarly, on Feb 26 last year, India had tried to launch a similar operation against Pakistan but failed and two of its planes had been shot down by Pakistan Air Force. Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan was arrested and later released.
The decision to put the army on high alert comes days after the Indian government approved the creation of a new post of deputy chief of strategy at the army headquarters as per a plan envisaged during the Doklam crisis with China in 2017, besides creating the position of director general information warfare who will also be dealing with media affairs.