The chief of the media wing of Pakistan’s armed forces on Friday suggested that the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 was “staged”, given that this was an “important month” for the country, Dawn reported.

“Whenever there is an important event in Pakistan or when Pakistan is becoming more stable, some sort of incident is staged in India or Kashmir,” Major General Asif Ghafoor said. He claimed that India has been unable to accept the “liberation of Pakistan” even seven decades after Independence.

Forty personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed in the attack in Pulwama district. India has blamed Pakistan for the attack. Ghafoor said India was “raining accusations without thinking and without any evidence”.

Ghafoor is the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations. He claimed that India wanted to target Pakistani youth.

He backed up his claim about attacks being staged by citing examples of the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and the Pathankot attack in 2016. The Mumbai attacks and the Pulwama attack came just months before general elections in India, he said.

“This month, there were eight significant events,” Ghafoor said. “Saudi crown prince was visiting, there was a discussion due on terror listing in the UNSC [United Nations Security Council], Afghan peace talks were ongoing and there were developments in European Union and the United Nations on [Jammu and Kashmir]. There was also the Jadhav hearing, the FATF hearing, a meeting on Kartarpur border as well as PSL matches.”

“In light of these events, what benefit would Pakistan get from the Pulwama attack?” he asked. “I’ll leave it to you to judge who is benefiting from all this.”

Ghafoor also said the Pakistani Army does not wish for a war between the two countries, but warned India of “surprise” if it takes any aggressive military action, PTI reported. “Should you [India] initiate any reaction first, you would never be able to surprise us...we will surprise you,” he said.

He also claimed that “despite’s India’s efforts to diplomatically isolate Pakistan since 2016, foreign heads of state and dignitaries had been visiting, foreign investment was pouring in, development on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was underway, and military cooperation and diplomacy was also ongoing”.

The spokesperson also claimed that the Indian media was indulging in “war journalism”.

Ghafoor alleged that Pakistan’s progress was affected due to the 1965 war with India. “Then in 1971, our distance from East Pakistan was exploited,” he said. “The real terrorism was done then through the Mukti Bahini group.”

Ghafoor said Pakistan recovered from the 1971 war because of its “resilience”, but after a period of calm on the border from 1971 to 1984, India “captured the Siachen Glacier”. The general said that after 1984, India began to focus on nuclear weapons. He accused the Indian government of promoting terrorism in Pakistan.

The general also claimed that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were an effort to scuttle Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts.