Pakistan warns against more raids by any country similar to the recent U.S. covert operation for killing Osama bin Laden

Taking a serious view of assertions made by the Indian military leadership since the U.S. operation in Pakistan to nab al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the Pakistan Army on Thursday warned that any “misadventure of this kind will be responded to very strongly.” Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said mimicking U.S. unilateral action in Pakistan would result in a “terrible catastrophe.”

Responding to questions on statements suggesting that India had the capability to enter Pakistani territory undetected like the U.S. did on May 2, Mr. Bashir described these remarks by senior members of India's political and military leadership as symptomatic of trends and tendencies within the Indian establishment and armed forces which were trying to subvert the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At the same time, he added that it was his understanding that the Indian leadership did not subscribe to such a view.

Battling the bad press that Pakistan has got all week because of the U.S. operation that has thrown up questions about Pakistan's ability to defend itself and its intent to deal with terrorists, Mr. Bashir sought to dispel notions of Pakistan quietly accepting such unilateral action from any other quarter. Without making any direct reference to India, he said: “Any other country that would ever act on the assumption that it has the might and mimic unilateralism of any sort will find it has made a basic miscalculation.”

Referring to what he described as “bravado in our region”— statements which have come from senior leaders of the military and the Air Force — Mr. Bashir said: “That sort of misadventure or miscalculation would result in a terrible catastrophe.”

Maintaining that India and Pakistan were in dialogue, the Foreign Secretary for the second time this week admitted that the two countries have had two rounds of good meetings recently. “We have done everything that we can and we are continuing to do in terms of cooperating to avert the possibilities of terror between our two countries. This requires a serious and continuous approach.”

As the international media has suggested that it was a mix of incompetence and complicity that allowed bin Laden to find safe haven in Pakistan, Mr. Bashir pondered aloud in the light of these accusations: “9/11, it happened. Mumbai happened. Was this intelligence or security failure? I do not want this whole discourse in the public/media domain to be reduced to rhetoric. We are confident of working with our friends and partners within the region and the international community to endeavour more to realise the common objectives.”

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