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NEW DELHI: Pakistan will have to pay for Saturday’s militant attack on an Indian army camp in Sunjuwan in Jammu, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman warned on Monday, a day after Islamabad urged New Delhi not to whip up war hysteria.

Ms Sitharaman alleged that the attack in Sunjuwan was carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammed militants. She added that the perpetrators were assisted by Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference over the security situation in Jammu, she said JeM chief Masood Azhar was the mastermind of the attack while there was also local support to the assault.

On Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry strongly rejected similar allegations voiced by the Indian media.

“A particular section in the Indian media runs with their innuendos to malign Pakistan and whips up public frenzy. We are confident that the world community would take due cognisance of India’s smear campaign against Pakistan, and the deliberate creation of war hysteria,” the foreign ministry statement said.

The Indian Express quoted Ms Sitharaman as claiming otherwise. “Terrorists belon­ged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, sponsored by Azhar Masood residing in Pakistan and der­iving support from there in,” she was quoted as saying.

Directly blaming Pakistan for the attack in which five Indian soldiers were killed, the minister said: “Intelli­gence inputs show that terrorists were controlled by their handlers from across border. Evidence are being scrutinised by NIA (National Intelligence Agency). Pakis­tan is expanding the arch of terror to areas south of Pir Panjal and resorting to ceasefire violations to assist infiltration.”

In reply to a question of Indian government’s action against Pakistan following the attack, the minister said: “All the evidences collected have been compiled. Defini­tely they will be given to Pakistan. Even after giving dossiers after dossiers Pakis­tan has not taken any action.”

She added: “Giving the evidences to Pakistan will be a continuous process. It will have to be proved over and over again that they are responsible. Pakistan will have to pay for this misadventure.”

Earlier in the day, Ms Sitharaman met the region’s chief minister Mehbooba Mufti who has pitched for dialogue with Pakistan to end the ‘bloodshed’ after the Jammu attack and recent incidents of alleged cross-Line of Control firing.

Agencies add: Hours after the two-day gun battle at the Sunjuwan military base ended, a soldier was killed when two militants attempted to attack another paramilitary camp in the disputed region, officials claimed on Monday.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2018

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