Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday, February 24, asked his Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "give peace a chance". Imran Khan said he "stand by his words" and Pakistan will "act immediately" if New Delhi provides Islamabad with "actionable intelligence" on the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which over 40 CRPF troopers were killed in a suicide attack by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), sparking outrage in the country.
The appeal came just a day after PM Modi threw a challenge to the Pakistan PM, asking him to act honourably by bringing to justice those behind the strike if he was indeed a "Pathan's son".
Addressing a rally in Rajasthan, PM Modi said, "There is a consensus in the entire world against terrorism. We are moving ahead with the strength to punish the perpetrators of terrorism... The scores will be settled this time, settled for good...This is a changed India, this pain will not be tolerated...We know how to crush terrorism."
Recalling his conversation with Khan during a congratulatory call after he won the Pakistan elections in 2018, PM Modi said he told him "let us fight against poverty and illiteracy" and Khan gave his word - saying he is a "Pathan's son" who spoke and acted in truth. Pathans, an ethnic group with roots in Iran, are known for their deep sense of honour and self-respect.
A statement released by the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office said, "PM Imran Khan stand by his words that if India gives us actionable intelligence, we will immediately act." PM Modi should "give peace a chance", Khan said in the statement.
Earlier on February 19 also, Imran Khan assured India that he would act against the perpetrators of the deadly Pulwama terror attack, carried out by Pakistan-based JeM terror group, if it shares "actionable intelligence" with Islamabad, but warned New Delhi against launching any "revenge" retaliatory action.
India said Imran Khan's offer to investigate the attack if provided proof is a "lame excuse".
"It is a well-known fact that Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan. These should be sufficient proof for Pakistan to take action," the Ministry of External Affairs said.
"The Prime Minister of Pakistan has offered to investigate the matter if India provides proof. This is a lame excuse. In the horrific attack in Mumbai on 26/11, the proof was provided to Pakistan. Despite this, the case has not progressed for the last more than 10 years. Likewise, on the terror attack on Pathankot airbase, there has been no progress. Promises of 'guaranteed action' ring hollow given the track record of Pakistan," it said.
The Pakistani premier was referring to India calling off the foreign minister-level talks with Pakistan in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September last year after following the "brutal" killing of three BSF jawans by Pakistani soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of postal stamps "glorifying" Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani by the Pakistan government.
PAKISTAN WANTS PEACE
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday claimed that Pakistan wants peace, but India is creating a "war frenzy", amidst simmering tensions between the two countries in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack. Qureshi also said that Pakistan was trying to defuse tensions and has written to the United Nations, seeking the world body's intervention.