Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday warned India to refrain from launching any attacks on Pakistan, saying that Islamabad would respond with full force if New Delhi embarks on any “misadventure”.
Qureshi, in his comments broadcast by a private news channel, said that India was plotting an attack on Pakistan to divert attention from a recent deadly clash between India and China in a disputed area of the Himalayas that killed at least 20 Indian soldiers. Chinese and Indian military commanders agreed on Monday to disengage their forces in the disputed area.
Qureshi said that India, after being beaten and “embarrassed” by China in the Himalayan incident, was trying to “find excuses for a false flag operation” against Pakistan.
“There is no doubt about what India is trying to do,” the foreign minister said. “Whatever India does, it will receive a response in kind.”
A day earlier, in a sign of escalating tensions between Pakistan and India, Delhi asked Islamabad to cut the size of its diplomatic staff in India by half within seven days after accusing its High Commission (HC) staff of engaging in espionage.
India said it too would halve its diplomatic presence in Islamabad, in view of the principle of reciprocity in diplomatic ties.
“If 50 per cent of our embassy staff comes back, then the Indian Embassy staff will also go back,” Qureshi had said, adding that the move was a “violation” of the Vienna Convention.
The Indian foreign ministry said it will do the same in Islamabad after two Indian Embassy employees were arrested in Pakistan.
The Indian ministry cited the expulsion of two Pakistani High Commission employees on May 31 as a proof of its claim. Pakistan has already strongly denied the Indian allegation about the expelled staffers.
It further accused Islamabad of harassing the officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and quoted the case of two Indian HC, who were briefly detained by the Islamabad Police for legal formalities after a road accident on June 15. It alleged that they were maltreated by Pakistani authorities.