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Pakistan summons Indian envoy to protest 'baseless allegations' about occupied Kashmir attack

Updated February 16, 2019

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Indian Acting Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia leaves the Foreign Office in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV
Indian Acting Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia leaves the Foreign Office in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

The Foreign Office on Friday summoned Indian Acting Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to protest his country's "baseless allegations" against Pakistan in the aftermath of an attack on Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir, Radio Pakistan reported.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier in the day alleged that there is "incontrovertible evidence" of Pakistan "having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident", in which 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed.

Ahluwalia, who was called to the FO by the additional secretary (Asia Pacific) of the foreign ministry, was handed a protest note over the allegations levelled by Indian officials against Pakistan.

"Pakistan rejects Indian government's allegations of intrusion," an FO official told reporters, adding that Pakistan condemns attacks in the occupied valley.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is currently on a visit to Germany, also asked India to refrain from levelling "unfounded allegations" against Pakistan, Radio Pakistan reported.

"Since day one we have been desirous of good relations with all our neighbours, including India," he was quoted as saying.

Following Thursday's attack, Islamabad had strongly rejected any insinuation that sought to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations.

But India today announced the withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan and decided to initiate steps to ensure diplomatic isolation of Islamabad.

Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood was summoned by the Indian external affairs ministry and issued a "strong démarche" in connection with the attack.

Also on Friday, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria was recalled by New Delhi for consultations in the aftermath of the bombing.

At least 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed on Thursday in occupied Kashmir in the deadliest attack on security forces since 2002.

The attack, surpassing one in 2016 when 19 soldiers died, saw explosives packed inside a van rip through buses in a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying some 2,500 members of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force.

Two blue buses carrying around 35 people each bore the brunt of the explosion around 20 kilometres from the main city of Srinagar on the main highway towards Jammu.

Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility, saying it was a suicide attack, according to The Hindu.