Need credible, verifiable, sustained action on terror from Pak not mere words: India

The Indian government on Saturday sought credible, verifiable and sustained action from the Pakistani side against terror groups while saying that mere words will not be enough to appease the international community.

“Pakistan will be judged by not the words it speaks but action it takes…The proof of action is not issuing notification but dismantling infrastructure which should be verified. Pakistan is well aware of its own commitment and concrete action that has to be taken against terrorism… If Pakistan claims to be a `naya (new) Pakistan with nayi soch (new thought)’, it should show `naya (new) action’ against terrorist groups and terror infrastructure on its soil and end cross border terrorism in support of its claims,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Saturday while addressing a media briefing.

The MEA response comes barely 12 hours after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said in Islamabad that he will not allow Pakistan’s soil to be used for terrorism adding that “God willing it will be beginning of a new era (in Pakistan).”

However, the Indian government wants more than just mere such statements from top leadership of Pakistan.

“We have seen this happening time and again. The same script is repeating again. Pakistan now has to move ahead beyond mere words and take some credible, verifiable and sustained actions against terrorists and terror groups so that is what they have to do,” Raveesh Kumar said in response to ANI’s question.

“In 2004, the then President of Pakistan had made a solemn public commitment that they would not allow any territory under their control to be used for terrorist activity in any manner. But till today Pakistan has failed to take any credible action against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other terrorist organizations, which continue to operate with impunity from Pakistan. The widespread presence of terrorist camps in Pakistan is a public knowledge within and outside Pakistan. Repeated requests by us and the international community for Pakistan to take action against such groups has been met with denial,” Raveesh Kumar said.

The Indian government has asserted that since February 26, 2018, following demands from the international community, Pakistan is again claiming to take fresh action against terror groups on its soil but this could be mere eye wash.

“In an interview to CNN on 28 February, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan has said “Well, he is (Masood Azhar) in Pakistan according to my information”. Claims are being made that terrorist organizations will be proscribed, that some individuals have been placed in preventive detention and that some action has been taken against seminaries and Madarsas belonging to terrorist groups. We are seeing the same script that has been played out earlier after the terrorist attacks on our Parliament in December 2001, the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 and the attack on Pathankot airbase in January 2016. Pakistan claims to proscribe groups and individuals, but this is confined only on paper. Actually, terrorist groups and individuals continue their activities without hindrance.  Pakistan has not shown any serious intent to address the legitimate concerns of India and the global community,” Raveesh Kumar said.

He added that despite the media interviews by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister and former President Pervez Musharraf acknowledging the presence of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Pakistan, the spokesperson of the Pakistan armed forces openly denied the presence of JeM  Mohammad in Pakistan, in an interview on 6 March.

“This statement is a sufficient proof that Pakistan still remains in a state of denial. We remain resolute in our determination to persuade the international community of the necessity of compelling Pakistan to move beyond mere words and to show credible, verifiable and sustained actions. We have, and we will continue to act with responsibility and maturity. Our armed forces continue to maintain strict vigil and will remain determined in the defence of the nation and its citizens,” the spokesperson said.

Talking about the non-military counter terrorism strike by India on February 26, 2019, Raveesh Kumar said: “Our non-military counter terrorism strike of 26 February achieved the intended objective. It has demonstrated our firm resolve to take decisive action against cross-border terrorism. On 27 February Pakistan, instead of taking action against terrorist groups on its soil, chose to escalate through an act of aggression by violating our air space and attempting, unsuccessfully, to target our military facilities. Their action was effectively thwarted by the alertness and readiness of our armed forces.”

Maintaining that India lost only one MiG21 Bison, Kumar rebuffed Pakistan’s claim of shooting down two Indian MiG21 Bison aircraft on February 27.

“We have been transparent and open in informing the media on February 27 itself that, in the process of defending our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, one Mig 21 Bison was lost in action and Wing Commander Abhinandan had to bail out and landed in Pakistan Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan, however, continues to propagate a false narrative of the events of that day… Only one aircraft was lost by us. If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week? Questions should be asked to them as to where the fuselage of the aircraft is and what has happened to the pilots? As we have already said, there are eye-witness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan. Evidence of the use of AMRAAM Missile, which can only be deployed on the F-16 with Pakistan, has also been shown to the media. Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16 aircraft has been shot down? We have asked the United States to also examine whether the use of F16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale,” the spokesperson said.

He added that since the Pulwama attack, the international community has solidly stood with India in their condemnation of the attack as well as in asking Pakistan to take concrete action against terrorists and terrorist infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan. The United Nations Security Council unanimously issued a Press Statement in which they have explicitly referred to the JeM as having claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The UN Security Council Press Statement also calls for perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of terrorism to be held accountable and brought to justice.  It is regrettable that Pakistan still continues to deny JeM’s own claim of taking ownership of the Pulwama attack. In his interview to BBC on 1 March, Pakistan Foreign Minister said “they have not claimed responsibility of that (Pulwama attack). There is some confusion on that. The confusion is that the leadership has been contacted and they said no”. Is Pakistan defending the JeM and acting as its spokesperson? Does Pakistan’s claim have any credibility?” Raveesh Kumar said.

“It is regrettable Pakistan continues to deny JeM involvment in Pulwama attack. Is Pakistan defending Jaish and being its spokesperson? Till today Pakistan has failed to take any credible action against Jaish. Terrorist camps in Pakistan are in public domain… The fact that Pakistan has refused access to journalists to the site (of JeM camp that was bombed by India) shows they have plenty to hide. The initial bravado by Pakistan on Balakot has disappeared… All members of UNSC are aware of JeM camps in Pakistan and presence of Masood Azhar in the country. We request all UNSC members to designate Masood Azhar under the UNSC sanction list. We have been repeatedly demanding Pakistan to take action against terror camps in their terroritory and area under its control,” he added.

On Imran Khan’s recent comments against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he was doing a divisive politics and that minorities are not safe in India, Raveesh Kumar said: “Pakistan Prime Minister’s statement on internal issue of India is part of its narrative of diverting attention. They should first see how minorities are treating in Pakistan. Instead of lecturing us they should look at themselves and fix their own problems.”

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