Pakistan Prime Minister
[Representational Image] "The entire nation and the government stand with the Armed Forces," PM Sharif saidReuters

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has finally broken his silence on the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army across the Line of Control and said that he does not want to go to war with India but the country will defend itself if required.

PM Sharif chaired a meeting with the federal cabinet to discuss the current situation in Indian Kashmir and also the recent ceasefire violations along the LoC by the Indian armed forces, Geo TV reported.

The cabinet condemned Indian 'atrocities' in Kashmir and also the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army on seven terror launch pads across the LoC that killed two Pakistani soldiers and 38 terrorists.

"The entire nation and the government stand with the Armed Forces," the prime minister said, adding that every Pakistani was ready to defend the country in case of any external threat.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army and the Border Security Force (BSF) have been put on high alert in case Pakistan retaliates. The forces have evacuated several villages located along the border states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. The BSF has increased security on the land border while the Coast Guard have been directed to remain vigilant at sea.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the authorities in the border states to evacuate villagers to safer areas, while the political leadership has been asked to monitor the evacuation process.

All schools and colleges in the area have been asked to shut down.

"Following the surgical strikes, high alert has been sounded across Gujarat, specially in the three districts — Banaskantha, Patan and Kutch — that share border with Pakistan. Coastal police stations have also been alerted to increase the vigil," Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was quoted by the Indian Express as saying. 

Fishermen have been asked not to venture out into the sea until further notice in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat while security forces and intelligence network have been put on high alert along the border with Pakistan in Kutch.

In Punjab, women and children from hundreds of villages located in the Fazilka and Ferozepur districts left for their relatives' homes located away from the border. The men, however, stayed back.

"Many villagers have witnessed Kargil war and have also faced huge losses, so they have decided to look forward to whatever happens now. Villagers are facing problem but whatever the Indian army did was correct," a resident in the Attari sector of Punjab told ANI.

The deputy commissioners of Fazilka and Ferozepur said 26 relief camps were set up in schools and colleges in each district for the villagers. They are being provided with food and other relief materials

"We have been told that this night is crucial and Pakistan can strike back. So it would not be safe to stay in the village, many have already left," Satnam Singh, husband of Amarjit Kaur who is the sarpanch of Dauke in Punjab, told the IE.

The Civil Hospital in Pathankot was also evacuated by the Armed Forces for fear of retaliation by the Pakistan Army. 

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