ISLAMABAD: Spooked by the Abbottabad stealth raid that exposed Pakistan's defences, Islamabad's top civilian and military leadership on Thursday warned a similar move by India will trigger military retaliation.
A statement issued after army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called a meeting of his corps commanders in Rawalpindi said the generals took "serious note of assertions made by the Indian military leadership about conducting similar operations."
"Any misadventure of this kind will be responded to very strongly. There should be no doubt about it," the statement warned.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan's foreign secretary Salman Bashir led a tirade against India, saying: "Any other country that would ever act (similarly) on the assumption that it has the might ... will find it has made a basic miscalculation." Bashir's was the first press conference by a senior civil servant since the Abbottabad raid.
Bashir and Kayani were reacting a day after India's military chief General V K Singh and Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said New Delhi had the teeth to hit terrorists holed up in Pakistan cities.
"Any such misadventure will result in a major catastrophe. We see a lot of bravado in our region... from the military, air force, which state that this can be repeated," Bashir added.
"Elements within Indian establishment and political forces are giving irresponsible statement to derail the peace process that PM Manmohan Singh initiated with Pakistan," Bashir said. "We are in the process of important and successful dialogue process with India."
The statements that come four days after Osama bin Laden was killed show the pressure that Pakistan's military and political leadership has come under to clarify why it hadn't explained the US action. Not only has the raid embarrassed the military establishment, it has triggered street protests by Muslim groups that the government fears could further sour the public mood against it. The only cogent response so far had been President Asif Ali Zardari's opinion piece in the Washington Post clarifying it was solely a US operation.
Since bin Laden was killed, there has been a lot of buzz about whether New Delhi had the capability to get terrorists such as Dawood Ibrahim, who is known to be staying in a tony Karachi neighbourhood, Hafiz Saeed, who freely advocates attacks on India and even Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, wanted for the 26/11 attack, who's in a Pakistani jail.
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