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Panelists feel that a retaliatory response from India will go a long way in boosting security and sending a clear signal to militants

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Islamabad is open to any investigation into the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, ruling out its involvement. “This is a New Pakistan… we want stability. We do not benefit by attacking India,” Khan said in a pre-recorded message. On the other hand, Lt Gen Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, Corps Commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said that anyone who picks up a gun in Kashmir will be eliminated. APN’s popular debate Mudda took up the issue of Pak response to Pulwama. Anchorperson Akshay posed the questions to panelists including the Congress’s Saif Khan, BJP’s Rajesh Jha, defence experts Col TP Singh Tyagi and Major (retd) Vinod Krishna, Kashmir expert Romesh Raina and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.

Tyagi said: “Pakistani hand in the Pulwama case cannot be ruled out, I disagree with Imran Khan.”

Raina said: “Pakistan is not scared. From 1947 to today, there is an uninterrupted continuity in their proxy war. Kashmir’s dominant political narrative has been radicalisation, Desert Islam entry, the control of mosques and so on.  There is no place for minoritism in Kashmir. Imran Khan’s press conference shows that Pakistan is feeling cornered. An aggressive policy towards China too is needed. Why can’t we make trade a political instrument?”

Khan said: “We need to go in for target assassination. Like America did with Osama bin Laden. Pakistan PM will never admit that it is supporting terrorism, but Pakistan thrives on terrorism. We have to improve our defence systems.”

Raina said: “The problem is because of passive terrorism and active terrorism. How do we segregate peace loving people in this situation?”

Maj (retd) Krishna said: “Gen Dhillon has appealed to mothers of Kashmir, to explain to the misguided youth.”

Tyagi said: “Gen Dhillon has said that those who surrender in 24 hours have the option of rehabilitation.”

Jha said: “We can see Imran Khan’s desperation in his message. He is asking for proof, but are Kasab, Osama and Dawood not enough proofs?”

Raju said: “Gen Dhillon’s press conference was very clear in its message. This kind of ultimatum, that those who don’t surrender in 24 hours will be killed, is the first of its kind. Secondly, mothers have been told to appeal to their children. Imran Khan’s press conference shows that Pak is deeply affected. It may say that it is ready for any action, but everyone knows Pak situation is weak.”

Khan said: “Congress might be in the opposition, but when it comes to the nation, we are together in the fight. America is quick in retaliation, why can’t we do so? There are bomb blasts in Pak too. People in Pak have to now be firm and tell their leaders that terrorism should end, and its leaders must focus on the economy there now.”

Raina said: “US is guided by its own interests. We have to fight our own battles.”

Khan said: “Terrorism has no faith.”

Jha said: “Have faith in our army, you will see in the coming days how we respond.”

Raju said: “First, our political parties need to go beyond party politics. Roots of the Kashmir issue can be traced to this kind of petty politics.”

Compiled by- Niti Singh Bhandari

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