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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office has said that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) remains a proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2002 and the country is implementing its obligations on sanctions.

FO spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal, in a statement in response to claims made by the Indian external affairs ministry on Feb 15 about Pakistan foreign secretary’s briefing to diplomatic corps, said Pakistan had rejected Indian allegations because these were made within a short time following the attack in Pulwama and without carrying out any investigation.

“These knee-jerk and pre-conceived accusations were nevertheless consistent with well-rehearsed tactics from Indian playbook after such incidents in the past,” Dr Faisal said. As for Indian assertion about “JeM’s claims of responsibility” and “video of the attacker”, he questioned the selective and self-serving standards that India adhered to in this respect.

Pointing out a clear dichotomy in Indian position, the FO spokesperson said: “On one hand, India accepted the unverified social media content as gold standard. In contrast, India chose denial when confronted with voluntary confessions and acceptance of responsibility by its serving naval commander [Kulbhushan] Jadhav for perpetrating terrorist violence in Pakistan.”

FO says Islamabad rejected Indian allegations because these were made without carrying out probe into Pulwama attack

He said India needed “to introspect and respond to questions about its security and intelligence lapses that led to this attack and India owes an explanation on reports of Adil Ahmed Dar’s arrest and custody since 2017”.

“Bluster, belligerence and pursuit of expedient standards to suit internal political interests are counterproductive. India must come out of the denial mode, end state repression against Kashmiri youth, address widespread alienation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and pursue the path of dialogue,” Dr Faisal said.

He said Pakistan desired normalisation of relations with India, adding that in a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Imran Khan followed his intention of taking two steps if India took one, with the proposal for a meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and a comprehensive, tangible roadmap for normalisation of bilateral ties.

Dr Faisal said it was India which had cancelled the meeting on baseless pretexts. Similarly, he added, Pakistan’s Kartarpur corridor initiative was another step aimed at improving people-to-people contacts and deescalating a vitiated environment.

The spokesperson for the Indian external affairs ministry had on Feb 15 alleged that JeM had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack and that the organisation and its leadership were located in Pakistan and a number of “terror groups” had welcomed the news of the attack.

Threat to peace

In a related development, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua apprised the ambassadors of African countries and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) states on the Pulwama attack at a special session at the Foreign Office.

Ms Janjua recalled the familiar pattern adopted by India blaming Pakistan soon after such incidents without investigation and pointed out to the deliberate anti-Pakistan frenzy being spurred in the neighbouring country.

The foreign secretary said the baseless Indian allegations and aggressive rhetoric were counterproductive and a threat to regional peace.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019