Pakistan's former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri had in 2008 told the American delegation led by United States Senator John McCain that Pakistani Army would have given a "measured response" had the Indian Army carried out airstrikes at the headquarters of terror outfits JuD and LeT near Lahore after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Kasuri made the revelation in an interview with India Today TV on Monday. Speaking to the news channel, Kasuri said that McCain, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke came to meet him in Lahore in 2008.
At the meeting, McCain asked Kasuri how Pakistan will react if India carries out surgical airstrikes at the headquarters of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Muridke. "We have come from India where there is a lot of anger. Supposing there is limited strike on Muridke, the headquarters of JuD," Kasuri quoted McCain as saying in the interview with India Today.
To this, Kasuri said that the Pakistani Army will give a "measured response" and a war will ensue if the Indian Army responds to it.
"I said what do you mean? He (McCain) said supposing there is an air strike. I said are you trying to prevent a war? He said we think that may well prevent a war. I said... Pakistan army will give a measured response, within five minutes. It will be measured, commensurate with the severity of the attack on Muridke," he told the news channel.
"You give assurance that the Indian army will not react. And if they did, what would be Pakistan reaction? Everything could spiral out of control... I felt that could actually lead to war although they thought that might prevent a war," he added.
"... I said public response will be so grave that Pakistan army will be delegitimising in the eyes of its own people if it does not respond," Kasuri reportedly told the delegation on being asked about the public response to India's aerial strikes.
In the interview, when asked how the Pakistani Army and the public would react if Prime Minister Narendra Modi were to carry out limited airstrikes on Muridke in 2015, Kasuri said, "God forbid! All hell will break loose."
He added that his advise to Modi will be "appoint people you trust as backchannel negotiators".