New Delhi, Feb 26 :As Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted air strikes against the terror bases run by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan's north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing "a very large number" of terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis, several leaders across the world expressed their concern and urged both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint.
The Australian government while expressing their solidarity with India has urged both sides to exercise restraint.
"The Australian government is concerned about relations between India and Pakistan following the horrific terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, which Australia has condemned. India’s Foreign Secretary has stated that India has now conducted operations targeting terrorist groups based in Pakistan.
Pakistan must take urgent and meaningful action against terrorist groups in its territory, including Jaish-e-Mohammed which has claimed responsibility for the 14 February bombing, and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan must do everything possible to implement its own proscription of Jaish-e-Mohammed. It can no longer allow extremist groups the legal and physical space to operate from its territory. These steps would make a substantial contribution to easing tensions and resolving the underlying causes of conflict." The Australian foreign office said in a statement.
Australia urged both sides to exercise restraint, avoid any action which would endanger peace and security in the region and engage in dialogue to ensure that these issues are resolved peacefully.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt had calls with Union Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj and the Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Pulwama on 14 February.
Hunt while offering his condolences to all those affected in the dastardly highlighted the UK’s concern about the enduring threat to regional stability from terrorism. He encouraged Pakistan and India to improve cooperation and find diplomatic solutions that will create greater stability and trust in the region.
The Foreign Secretary reiterated the UK’s commitment to working with both India and Pakistan, as well as international partners at the UN, to ensure that those responsible for the attack are held to account. The UK has been, and continues to be, in close contact at senior levels in both countries and will be promoting international efforts to tackle the threats of terrorism and improve regional stability, a foreign and commonwealth office spokesperson said in a statement.
Pakistan in its response said the strikes hit an empty area but vowed to respond.
Senior Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leaders Khursheed Shah and Sherry Rehman called for a joint session of Parliament to be convened immediately. The demand for a joint session figured in the National Assembly also with PML (Nawaz) leader Khawaja Asif, a former Defence Minister, also echoed similar sentiment.
Asif also slammed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for inviting Indian External Affairs Minister Minister Sushma Swaraj as a 'guest of honour' at an inaugural session of the OIC foreign ministers' conclave scheduled on March 1 in Abu Dhabi.
He said it is "not the time for political point-scoring" and maintained that all political differences should be shunned.
Former US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley has also slammed Pakistan for harbouring terrorists on its soil and hailed the Trump administration for wisely restricting financial assistance to Pakistan.
Meanwhile Ms Swaraj has also briefed US state secretary Mike Pompeo about India's retaliation and underlined that this was a non-military operation against terror camp and India's fight is against terrorists and not against Pakistan.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also called on India and Pakistan to de-escalate tensions and settle existing differences via dialogue.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran calls on India and Pakistan to keep restraint and boost efforts on de-escalation of tensions and peaceful settlement of differences and problems via dialogue," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, as quoted by the Telegram channel of the ministry.
The civil society in Nepal also staged a silent protest in front of the Pakistan Embassy in Kathmandu protesting the terror attack in Pulwama in south Kashmir that took place on February 14.
According to the media reports, the members of the civil society held banners and pamphlets condemning the attack.
"We held the silent protest because silence speaks louder than the words. It's an inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi and silence is the one which wins overall," one of the participants said.
China has also urged India and Pakistan to “exercise restraint”, The Dawn reported.
“We hope that both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and adopt actions that will help stabilise the situation in the region and improve mutual relations,” China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said. Ms Swaraj is also expected to meet her Chinese counterpart on Wednesday.
The European Union expressed their concern over the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan.
"We remain in contact with both countries and what we believe is essential is that all exercise maximum restraint and avoid further escalation of tensions," EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters.