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India rejects Imran’s offer, seeks action against perpetrators

February 20, 2019

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NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) talks to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman upon his arrival at the airport on Tuesday.—Reuters
NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) talks to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman upon his arrival at the airport on Tuesday.—Reuters

NEW DELHI: India summarily rejected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer on Tuesday to investigate the Pulwama attack and demanded “credible and visible action against the perpetrators” sheltered in Pakistan.

“We are not surprised that the Prime Minister of Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the attack on our security forces in Pulwama as an act of terrorism,” a foreign ministry statement said.

It added that the PM neither chose to condemn this heinous act nor condoled with the bereaved families. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, however, had expressed sympathy with the victims soon after the incident.

PM Khan’s probe offer and India’s rejection of it came on the day Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrived in Delhi after completing his two-day visit to Islamabad. The crown prince who arrived late on Tuesday night was received at the airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The visitor has not commented on the Kashmir attack but analysts say the issue was too urgent to be ignored during his talks in both the capitals.

The Indian statement added, “Disclaiming any link between the terrorist attack and Pakistan is an oft-repeated excuse by Pakistan.”

‘Naya Pakistan’ ministers publicly share platforms with Hafiz Saeed, says Indian foreign ministry

It accused Prime Minister Khan of ignoring alleged claims made by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, “as well as by the terrorist, who perpetrated this heinous crime”.

The statement repeated the standard Indian reminder that Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar were based in Pakistan. “These should be sufficient proof for Pakistan to take action.”

Mr Khan has offered to investigate the matter if India provides actionable proof. “This is a lame excuse,” the Indian statement said, and added: “In the horrific attack in Mumbai on 26/11, proof was provided to Pakistan.

Despite this, the case has not progressed for the last more than 10 years. Likewise, on the terror attack on Pathankot airbase, there has been no progress. Promises of ‘guaranteed action’ ring hollow given the track record of Pakistan.”

‘Naya Pakistan’

PM Khan has referred to a “Naya Pakistan” with a new thinking. In this “Naya Pakistan”, the Indian statement said, “ministers of the current government publicly share platforms with terrorists like Hafiz Saeed who have been proscribed by the United Nations.”

About Pakistan’s call for dialogue and willingness to talk about terrorism, the Indian statement said New Delhi repeatedly stated that it was ready to engage in a “comprehensive bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror and violence”.

“Pakistan claims to be the greatest victim of terrorism. This is far from truth. The international community is well acquainted with the reality that Pakistan is the nerve centre of terrorism.”

Elections in India

The Indian foreign ministry statement was particularly pointed in rejecting the suggestion that the Pulwama attack and the media hype had acquired a political purpose.

“It is regrettable that the Pakistani Prime Minister has insinuated that India’s response to the terrorist attack is determined by the forthcoming general elections. India rejects this false allegation. India’s democracy is a model for the world, which Pakistan would never understand.

“We demand Pakistan to stop misleading the international community and take credible and visible action against the perpetrators of the Pulwama terrorist attack and other terrorists and terror groups operating from areas under their control,” the statement added.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2019