Pakistan accuses India of planning ‘new aggression’

India officially downgrades Kashmir’s status
Areas of the disputed region have been stripped of statehood and changed to territories.

Pakistan’s foreign minister says the government has “reliable intelligence” that India was planning an attack next week — claims its nuclear neighbor immediately dismissed as “irresponsible and preposterous.”

In remarks on Pakistan’s state broadcaster PTV Sunday, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said India was plotting a “new aggression” between April 16 and 20.

Qureshi said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given his armed forces the green light for attacking targets both in Kashmir and Pakistan.

“He (Modi) says that you have permission to carry out action. They (heads of armed forces) say, ‘We have selected targets which are of a military nature. And it is not essential that those targets would be limited to Kashmir … So, a new talk of military action is going on there And a new message about a military action is being given out,” he said.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs said the claims were baseless, accusing Qureshi of encouraging Pakistan-based militants to attack targets in India.

“India rejects the irresponsible and preposterous statement by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan intended to whip up war hysteria in the region. This public gimmick appears to be a call to Pakistan-based terrorists to undertake a terror attack in India,” spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.

Qureshi also referenced a February attack in Kashmir in which 40 Indian soldiers were killed when a bomb exploded near a paramilitary convoy in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The Pulwama bombing was one of the deadliest attacks in Kashmir in recent years, with India claiming Pakistan had a “direct hand” in the attack. Pakistan has vehemently denied having a role.

The accusations sparked tit-for-tat military operations by the two sides, further increasing tensions.

“In occupied Kashmir, a new Pulwama-like incident could take place, with an aim to increase diplomatic pressure on Pakistan and to justify (India’s) military action,” Qureshi said Sunday.