From left: Qureshi, Ghafoor and information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan listens a question during a press conference at the foreign ministry in Islamabad. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Pakistan’s army and government are ready to defend the nation if India resorts to any misadventure to divert the world’s attention from Kashmir lockdown, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday.

He also said the Pakistan government has decided to expedite lobbying efforts to highlight the plight of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in key capitals of the world.

Qureshi was addressing a joint press conference with the director-general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, which covered both political and military aspects of the evolving situation.

The military spokesperson also said Pakistan’s armed forces were “ready for any misadventure that India might initiate.”

Qureshi also stated that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have both responded positively to Pakistan’s calls to take notice of India’s recent actions in Kashmir.

“The issue was raised in the UNSC after five decades and a discussion took place on the matter — that is a major development” especially at this critical time, Qureshi said.

On August 16, the UNSC held a meeting exclusively on Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir for the first time in 50 years.

To cope with the situation Pakistan, he said, decided to form a Kashmir Cell, within Pakistan’s Foreign Office, after a meeting of the Special Committee on Kashmir.

Furthermore, Kashmir desks will also be established at Pakistani embassies all over the world to “effectively communicate the coordinated effort.”

Clarifying Pakistan’s stance on Article 370 of India’s constitution, Qureshi said: “Pakistan does not recognise Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Our concern is with the forceful change in Kashmir’s demographics and the violation of the rights of the people. We need a permanent solution” of Kashmir crisis.

In his press briefing, he also referred to an open letter by 200 Indian writers and activists condemning the “mockery of democracy in Kashmir” to highlight the plight of the Kashmiris.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s former ambassador to India, Abdul Basit, has urged the government to appoint a special envoy to Kashmir.

Major General Asif Ghafoor said the country’s armed forces are fully prepared to respond to any Indian aggression. He also warned of a false flag operation by Indian forces to divert world’s attention from Kashmir.

“Pakistan armed forces are ready. Pakistan is fully capable of giving a befitting response to India if India tries any misadventure,” he said.

Responding to a question, Major General Ghafoor said, “Kashmir is a nuclear flash point and the world needs to look into the Indian defence minister’s remarks about use of nuclear weapons.”

Pakistan military is keeping a close eye on the tensions on the eastern border and Line of Control (LoC).