FO sounds alarm over New Delhi’s ‘covert global operations’

Published November 24, 2023
FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on Thursday. — FO/Facebook
FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on Thursday. — FO/Facebook

ISLAMABAD: The For­eign Office on Thursday voiced concern over the alarming expansion of India’s covert operations, including espionage and extraterritorial assassinations, on a global scale, condemning these actions as blatant violations of international law.

At the weekly media briefing, while recalling that Pakistan remained a victim of India-sponsored terrorism and subversion, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said, “India’s network of espionage and extraterritorial killings has gone global.”

“We have condemned and we are concerned about India’s reckless and irresponsible conduct, which we believe is a clear violation of international law and the UN principle of state sovereignty,” she added, commenting on a report in the Financial Times, which said that the United States authorities thwarted a plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist, Gur­patwant Singh Pannun.

The Biden administration has conveyed its concerns to Delhi over the assassination plot.

Earlier in September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that Canadian security agencies were actively investigating credible allegations linking agents of the Indian government to the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader, in British Columbia. Canada also expelled an Indian undercover diplomat in the country, indicating the seriousness with which it was treating those allegations.

Replying to a question, Ms Baloch said India has been involved in espionage and terror activities inside Pakistan. She reminded that Pakistan had voiced this concern in the past as well.

“If you would recall, last year we issued a dossier on the Lahore attack, providing credible evidence with regards to Indian involvement in a terror attack inside Pakis­tan. So, this is an issue of serious concern for Pakis­tan,” she maintained.

BRICS membership

Pakistan has formally requested to join the BRICS group, a significant alliance of developing countries.

“Yes, I can confirm that Pakistan has made a formal request to join BRICS, which we believe is an important grouping of developing countries,” Ms Baloch said.

The decision to seek BRICS membership reflects Pakistan’s recognition of the group’s growing clout, and the shifting geopolitical landscape, besides Pakistan’s desire to engage more actively with emerging global power centres, Pakistan’s request for BRICS membership comes at a time when the group is actively broadening its reach and influence.

The BRICS group, originally consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, recently expanded, adding Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2023

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