Does Pakistan have legal justification to ‘surprise’ India?

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After Indian false claims of surgical strikes and bombarding of some hideouts of terrorist in Pakistan, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Tuesday held a press conference and warned India that “You have not surprised us. But be ready to get a surprise from us. We shall surely surprise you. Wait for our response.”

DG ISPR also made it clear that the place and time of the response will be Pakistan’s choice. He also hinted that the target has already been identified. While responding to a question posed by a journalist that whether the response will be at diplomatic fronts or a befitting military reply to Indian aggression? The army’s spokesperson clarified that Pakistan will respond India on diplomatic, political and of course on military fronts. He also said “you have done your job. Now it is our turn. Wait for us.”

A Lahore-based Professor also offered a frank comment and maintained that the international law is generally not respected when states made up their mind to intervene in domestic security matters of any other state.

DG ISPR was briefing the journalists about the last night incident whereby India claimed that around 300 terrorists have been killed in an Indian operation on Pakistani soil. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told that no causality happened as a result of Indian intrusion to Pakistan early in the morning. He also invited the Indian public, the international community, journalists and civil society to visit the place of attack and look themselves if there was any building or hideouts of terrorists.

Reacting to the press conference of DG ISPR Indian journalist Barkha Dutt claimed that the Pakistani version is full of contradiction and carries no importance. “As expected Pakistan calls #airstrikes “fictitious” but wants ‘right to retaliation”. If it’s all untrue what is the retaliation for?. Too many clumsy contradictions FROM Pakistan all day #airstrikes #Balakot #PulwamaAttack,” she tweeted.

A social activist was quick to respond to Indian journalist by saying “Bibi read statements carefully, Pakistan says India has violated our airspace which will be retaliated at a right time and place of its chosen.”

In fact, India could not produce a single evidence of its claim of causalities in the region. Indian media and journalists ask what Pakistan wants to retaliate to if there was no airstrike. Nowhere in the press conference did the DG ISPR say that there was no violation. He maintained that contradictory to Indian claims, there were no terrorist’s hideouts, not a single causality, and within 3 minutes, Indian jets were chased away. But, since crossing and entering into Pakistan’s airspace is a violation of LoC, Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate; which it will.

Read more: Indian aircraft violate LoC, forced back by timely response: DG ISPR

However, debate in Pakistan at the moment is whether Pakistan has legal or political justifications to give India a befitting response? Experts of international law opine that since India has already violated international law, therefore, Pakistan has legitimate politico-legal footings to respond to Indian aggression.

Ahmer Bilal Soofi, President of Research Society of International Law, argued that Indian violation of the international law has given Pakistan a legal base to do the same. “Indian violation of article 2(4) of UN Charter and 1974 UNGA res has equipped Pakistan with the right of reprisal under international law,” he said.

A Lahore-based Professor also offered a frank comment and maintained that the international law is generally not respected when states made up their mind to intervene in domestic security matters of any other state. He clearly said that “it is a power which legitimizes or illegitimate any action, not any legal norm or moral framework.

Read more: DG ISPR’s message to India: “Don’t Mess with Pakistan!”

He quoted the examples of the USA and China and justified his claim. He also argued that since now Pakistan is relatively in a position of power at the international stage, it can exert some influence and take decisions which best serves its national interests.

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