India on Friday night asserted that Pakistan’s demand for an investigation into the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district is ‘preposterous’ when there was already a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself as a member of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) that carried out Thursday’s assault on a CRPF convoy.
In the deadliest terror attack on security forces in Kashmir, around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when their convoy was targetted in Awantipora area of Pulwama district on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
JeM, a Pakistan-based terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Earlier on Friday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson tweeted that Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua met and briefed the P5 envoys (United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China) on the Pulwama attack and “rejected” India’s claims over its involvement.
Responding to the development, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Pakistan cannot claim that it was unaware of the presence of terror outfits and their activities on their soil and reiterated that Islamabad did not take stringent action against them despite demands by the international community.
“JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack. The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities,” Kumar said in a statement.
“They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries. The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its own ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists,” he added.
The convoy comprised of 78 buses in which around 2,500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar – the slain personnel were in a bus which had 42 CRPF men on board. It was the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir.
“Furthermore, the demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” Kumar further said.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office further said that during the meeting between Janjua and the P5 ambassadors, the Foreign Secretary “pursued a constructive approach towards India.”
“Pakistan’s offer of dialogue and the Kartarpur initiative are a clear evidence of this. Ratcheting up tensions in the region will be counterproductive,” Faisal said.
Reacting to the statement, Kumar stated that India had not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan, adding that terror and talks cannot go together.
“What we have noticed, however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organizations such as JeM on the other,” he said.
Reiterating to Pakistan that it should take stringent action against terror outfits based in the country, Kumar further said, “We demand Pakistan take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror.”
In the wake of the barbaric terror attack in Pulwama, India on Friday stripped Pakistan the ‘most-favoured nation’ status, which would allow New Delhi to increase customs duty on goods coming from the neighbouring country.
India also demanded that the UN ban JeM and its chief Masood Azhar who roams freely in Pakistan. In a statement, the MEA said that all UN member countries should support a proposal for proscribing Azhar as an international terrorist.
Reflecting the outrage in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that “the blood of Indians is boiling” and issued a clear warning to Pakistan, declaring that the “guardians” of the perpetrators of the Pulwama terror attack will be “definitely punished”.