New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday came down heavily on Pakistan, saying that a heavy price will be inflicted on the perpetrators of the Pulwama terror attack, which he described as a ‘‘grave mistake.’’ As he blasted the terror outfits, he said “our security forces have been given full freedom” (to hit back).
The Prime Minister also appealed to all parties to avoid making political comments at this “sensitive and emotional time” and has convened an all-party meeting on Saturday for taking a unanimous view on the future course of action. Congress President Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced full support to the government, saying there will be “no other discussion for the next couple of days.”
Rahul said: “The entire Opposition will stand together with our jawans and the government.” The Congress leaders were responding to the PM’s appeal to shun political comments, so that a message goes out that the country is united in its fight against terror.
Addressing the Opposition, PM Modi said: “Those who are criticising us, I understand their emotions. They have every right to do so. But I request all my friends that it is a sensitive and emotional time, so stay away from political comments.” “If our neighbour, which is totally isolated in the world, thinks it can destabilise India through its tactics and conspiracies, then it is making a big mistake,” the Prime Minister said.
“I want to tell terrorist organisations and their guardians that they have committed a grave mistake. Those behind the attack will be punished for their actions.” The Prime Minister also urged the international community to unite to wipe out the scourge of terrorism and isolate those responsible for the menace.
Arun Jaitley, who is back from New York, assumed charge of the finance minister on Friday and attended a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by the PM. Thereafter followed a key announcement – That India has withdrawn the “Most Favoured Nation” status bestowed on Pakistan.
Jaitley also said: “The Ministry of External Affairs will initiate all possible diplomatic steps to ensure the complete isolation of Pakistan from the international community. There is incontrovertible evidence of it having a direct hand in this gruesome attack.”
The CCS meeting was also attended by the ministers of home, defence and external affairs; later Home Minister Rajnath Singh flew to Srinagar to take stock of the situation. India has already demanded that the United Nations ban JeM and pass strictures against its chief Masood Azhar who roams freely in Pakistan.
In a statement, the MEA said all UN members should back a proposal to proscribe Azhar as an international terrorist. China, which condemned the killings, is however, not ready to play along on Masood Azhar, the brain behind JeM.