On Thursday, Pakistan’s minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed Pakistan’s role in the February 14, 2019 Pulwama terror attack and said the jihadi strike was a “major achievement” under the leadership of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Hum ne Hindustan ko Ghuss ke Mara Hai (We have entered and attacked India),” said Fawad Chaudhry, the science of technology minister in the Imran Khan cabinet, amid clapping from the ruling party MPs.
“The victory in Pulwama is a victory for the people of Pakistan under the leadership of Imran Khan,” he added. The minister said that the credit for Pulwama goes to all: “We are all stakeholders in it.”
Chaudhry was replying to comments made a day earlier by former speaker and MP from the PML-N party, Ayaz Sadiq, on the floor of the house.
Sadiq had claimed a day earlier in the National Assembly that the Imran Khan government had released Abhinandan fearing an imminent attack from India. The IAF pilot was captured after an unsuccessful Pakistani attempt to bomb targets in India after the February 26 Balakot strike by the IAF.
“I remember foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was present in that meeting, which the prime minister had refused to attend. The chief of army staff was also present.” said Sadiq.
“With his legs shaking and sweat on his forehead, Qureshi told us, ‘For God’s sake, let him (Abhinandan) go back now, otherwise India will attack Pakistan at 9pm’,” Sadiq quoted Qureshi as saying.
“Anything other than the country’s mature response as a responsible state was disappointing and misleading”, responded Pakistan’s Army Spokesperson Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar.
“A statement was given yesterday which tried to distort the history of issues associated with national security,” he said, referring to Sadiq’s statement.
He said following the Pulwama attack, India “showed aggression against Pakistan in violation of all international laws on February 26, 2019, in which not only did it face defeat but was humiliated around the world”.
“Pakistani armed forces’ alert and timely response foiled the enemy’s designs. The enemy planes that had come to drop the explosives on the Pakistani people escaped while dropping their payload on empty mountains in panic after seeing our Shaheens,” the spokesperson said.
“Pakistan responded to India in broad daylight after announcing it. Not only did we give an appropriate reply, but also shot down two enemy war planes and captured Wing Commander Abhinandan,” the military spokesperson said.
“During these actions, the enemy became so frightened that it shot down its own helicopter and troops in a state of panic. This victory not only exposed India’s hollow claims of power before the world but made the entire Pakistani nation proud,” he said.
“Being a responsible state, the government of Pakistan, in order to give peace another chance, decided to release Indian prisoner of war Wing Commander Abhinandan,” he added, emphasising that this decision, which was in line with the Geneva Convention, was praised the world over.
Notably, At least 40 security personnel were killed in Pulwama on 14 February last year when a vehicle-borne suicide attacker hit their convoy. The attacker was a member of the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed.