Pakistan says it has intelligence of planned Indian attack
UN Security Council told of Pakistan's concerns
Karachi — Pakistan has “reliable intelligence” that India will attack again in April, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, as tension over a February standoff between the two nuclear-armed neighbours had appeared to ease.
The attack could take place between April 16 and 20, he said, adding that Pakistan had told the five permanent members of the UN Security Council of its concerns.
A suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police on February 14 and the risk of conflict rose dramatically on February 27, when India launched an air strike on what it said was a militant training base.
The following day Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet and captured its 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,” Qureshi said.
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.
India’s foreign office did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Khan blamed India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for “whipping up war hysteria” over claims that India shot down a Pakistani F-16 during the February standoff.
India said it, too, had shot down a Pakistani aircraft and the air force displayed pieces of a missile that it said had been fired by a Pakistani F-16 before it went down.
The success of Indian air strikes on a camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group in northwestern Pakistan has also been thrown into doubt after satellite images showed little sign of damage. Pakistan closed its airspace amid the standoff but most commercial air traffic has since resumed and major airports have opened.
As a sign of apparently easing tensions, Pakistan said it would release 360 Indian prisoners in April. The first hundred were released on Sunday.
Due to rocky relations, prisoners who have completed their jail terms, many of them fishermen convicted of straying into each other's territory, often languish in jails for months, if not years, afterwards.
“These are 100 Indian fishermen released from jail as a goodwill gesture by Pakistan,” Saad Edhi, an official with Pakistan’s largest charity, the Edhi Foundation said. “They are going to Lahore from where they will be released into India across the Wagha border crossing.”