WASHINGTON: Pakistan has refused to be dragged into a propaganda war, which revolves around an alleged US warning to the country.
In a report sent by their correspondents in Washington, the Indian media reported that the United States had asked Pakistan to ensure there’s no cross-border terror incident during President Barack Obama’s visit to India.
“The Indian media has a tendency to invent and exaggerate things,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani when asked to comment on these reports. “As a matter of fact US Secretary of State John Kerry, who visited Islamabad last week, had deeply appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan against terrorism and extremism.” Ambassador Jilani pointed out that Pakistan had already launched a major military operation in North Waziristan and was also taking similar actions in other parts of the country.
“These actions are meant to purge our country of all such elements. These actions are also in pursuance of our policy not to allow any one to use our territory against other countries,” he said.
An Indian news agency, PTI, reported from Washington that: “Pakistan has been subtly warned of the ‘consequences’ of any terrorist attack during President Obama’s trip if that is traced back to their country.”
Another PTI report from Islamabad claimed that “hours after receiving the warning Pakistan assured the US” that no such attack would take place.
Quoting unnamed “sources” in Washington, the news agency claimed that the warning had been issued “keeping the track record of Pakistan-based militant groups that have carried out attacks in India coinciding with high-profile visits from the US”.
The Indian media also reported that a top Indian army commander had recently warned that Pakistan-trained terrorists were planning to attack soft targets including schools and civilian areas ahead of President Obama’s visit, which starts next week.
“Two hundred Pakistani trained terrorists are waiting for an opportunity to infiltrate into India,” said Lt General K.H. Singh.
Diplomatic sources in Washington, however, see these reports as part of a propaganda war aimed at scoring points before President Obama’s visit.
“It is a strange warning. It seems as if the Americans are saying it is OK to carry out attacks before and after the president’s visit. Just don’t do it while he is there,” said a diplomatic source.
President Obama arrives in India on Jan 25 for a three-day visit during which he would attend the Republic Day parade as the chief guest on Jan 26 and in the evening he will attend a reception hosted by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
Published in Dawn January 20th , 2015