ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s powerful army chief lashed out at India Thursday, warning that any act of aggression from New Delhi would not go unpunished as tensions spiked between the two countries over the divided region of Kashmir.
Gen. Raheel Sharif said in a televised speech that Pakistan’s armed forces will react with a “befitting response” to aggression from India.
“Pakistan is a responsible country and remains committed to follow the policy of friendship with all other countries based on the principles of equality and mutual respect. While doing so, the armed forces of Pakistan remain fully prepared to give the most befitting response to any kind of internal and external threat posed to our nation,” he said.
Sharif also asked the international community to condemn what he called India’s “insinuations and fabrications” about Pakistan, adding that Islamabad has made “unparalleled contributions in the global fight against terrorism.”
His remarks came more than a week after New Delhi launched a cross-border attack that it claimed had destroyed “terrorist launching pads” used by Pakistan-backed militants. Pakistan said the attack killed two of its soldiers.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria warned on Thursday that the curfew in Indian-controlled Kashmir was leading to shortages in food, water, medicine, and emergency care and could create a “human catastrophe of huge proportions.”
In rhetoric that reflected the extent of the tension between the two countries, Zakaria said Indian security forces were committing “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” in India-controlled Kashmir, accusing the country of putting “humanity to shame.” Zakaria also demanded the release of Kashmiri leaders and political activists detained in India.
Indian security forces have killed dozens of protesters in recent months at demonstrations against Indian rule. Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India and is claimed in its entirety by both nuclear-armed neighbors.