ISLAMABAD: As India blamed Pakistan for the Gurdaspur attack that killed at least seven people this week, the Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday termed accusations “unfortunate” and said countering terrorism could only be possible through cooperation.
“Pointing fingers before investigation is not a healthy trend,” said FO spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah at a news briefing.
India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha today that the gunmen who stormed a police station and killed seven people in India’s Punjab had come from Pakistan, according to a preliminary report.
Singh said the Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, which belonged to the terrorists and were recovered after they were shot dead, established that they crossed into India through the River Ravi.
“The trio was dressed in army fatigues and equipped with Chinese-made grenades and AK 47s,” he added.
In a statement shorn of the nationalist rhetoric the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is known for, the minister also warned of a forceful response to any attempt to undermine India’s territorial integrity or security but did not specify any response to Monday’s attack.
Indian police had managed to overcome three heavily armed men after a 12-hour gun battle. Four police officers including the local superintendent and three civilians had died in the operation in the usually calm northern state of Indian Punjab.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office categorically rejected the “baseless allegations” made by Rajnath Singh, Home Minister of India, in the Parliament, today.
“Pakistan regrets the unsubstantiated and unwarranted assertion that those involved in the Gurdaspur incident of July 27, had entered India from Pakistan and believes that the home minister’s provocative comments are a threat to peace and security of the region,” FO spokesman said.
“We have noted with concern a continuing tendency of India to cast blame on Pakistan for any terrorist incident in its territory. In the Gurdaspur incident, blames were apportioned to Pakistan by the Indian media, even when the encounter with terrorists was still going on,” Qazi Khalilullah said.
He added,”To tackle terrorism, a cooperative approach is required and blame game, and finger-pointing would be unhelpful.”
“We urge the Government of India to refrain from casting baseless allegations and work with Pakistan to eliminate terrorism from the region and create an environment of peace and amity in South Asia. If Government of India has any concrete evidence in this case, same may be shared with Government of Pakistan,” the spokesman said.
Talking about India’s aggression at the Line of Control (LoC) and working boundary, he said Pakistan is capable of defending itself against any aggression.
He added the Pakistani high commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, postponed his visit to Chandigarh following the incident because the Indian government did not permit his driver and two other officers to travel with him.
The spokesperson further said India and Pakistan are in touch regarding the dates for the meeting between their respective national security advisers.
At the briefing, the spokesperson also talked about the peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban. He said Pakistan is committed to facilitating peace talks. However, he expressed his ignorance as to the date and venue of the second round of the talks.
With regards to the rumours about Mullah Omar’s death, the spokesperson said the authorities are verifying their veracity.
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily