ISLAMABAD, Sept 2: Wednesday's anti-Muslim riots and attacks on Arab and Pakistani establishments in Nepal were sponsored by India, a government official said at a briefing here on Thursday.

Quoting intelligence reports, the official said a terrorist outfit, Pashupatti, was behind the riots. "Pashupatti is a sister organization of the Hindu fundamentalist party, Shiv Sena.

It is operating in Nepal with the active support of RAW," he said, adding that the outfit had prepared the ground for the riots by distributing anti-Muslim leaflets and other material.

"They tried to give an anti-Islam colour to an incident which has nothing to do with Islam," the official said. "The killing of the 12 Nepalese in Iraq was used as the pretext to unleash violence which had been planned beforehand," said the official.

He pointed out that the targets were 'well defined', and the mob was directed to attack Pakistan's embassy, offices of the Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways and Saudi Arabian Airlines and the Egyptian embassy.

About the attack on Kathmandu's main Jama Masjid, he said it was reminiscent of the attack on the Babri Mosque and Gujarat killings in which Muslims were targeted under a well-thought out plan.

The official said that besides Nepal, the Hindu extremists had also been active in other states bordering India. Sources said Shiv Sena extremists had also been attacking Muslims in Kashmir under official patronage.

About RAW's activities in Nepal, the official pointed out that in December 1999, an Indian Airlines flight originating from Kathmandu had been hijacked to Kandahar under a RAW plan. An attack on the Pakistani embassy in Afghanistan in the past had also been sponsored by the RAW, said the official.

He said some extremists involved in Wednesday's riots had been arrested by the Nepalese authorities and there was a clear indication of their links with India.

He said intelligence reports from Nepal in the past had also mentioned arrests of Indian officials along with caches of arms and ammunitions.

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