Pakistan has “reliable intelligence” that India will attack again this month, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Sunday, as tension over a February standoff between the two countries had appeared to ease. The attack could take place between April 16 and 20, he claimed, adding that Pakistan had told the five permanent members of the UN Security Council of its concerns.
In its first reaction, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said it rejects the “irresponsible, preposterous” claim.
Ties between India and Pakistan plunged after a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers on February 14. Two weeks later, India carried out an air strike on a training base in Pakistan of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which had claimed responsibility for the attack.
The following day, Pakistan tried to target Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir, triggering the first aerial encounter between the two countries in half a century. In the dogfight, the Indian Air Force said it had shot down a Pakistani fighter jet while losing one of its own. Pakistan had captured the Indian pilot who was later released.
“We have reliable intelligence that India is planning a new attack on Pakistan. As per our information this could take place between April 16 and 20,” Mr Qureshi told reporters in his hometown of Multan.
He did not elaborate on what evidence Pakistan had or how he could be so specific with the timing, but he said Prime Minister Imran Khan had agreed to share the information with the country.
Pakistan had closed its airspace amid the standoff with India but most commercial air traffic has since resumed and major airports have opened.
As a sign of apparently easing tensions, Pakistan said on Friday it would release 360 Indian prisoners this month. The first hundred were released on Sunday.
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