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February 18, 2019

Pulwama attack: It’s security, intel lapse, Pakistan tells India

February 18, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday reached out to New Delhi saying it desired détente, but bluster, belligerence and pursuit of expedient standards to suit internal political interests was both delusional and counterproductive.

“India must come out of the denial mode, end state repression against Kashmiri youth, address widespread alienation in the IHK and pursue the path of dialogue,” the Foreign Office said in a statement after India criticised a briefing given by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua to diplomats posted in Islamabad.

Islamabad also says the Modi government has to give an explanation about the young suicide bomber Adil Ahmed Dar. “India needs to introspect and respond to questions about its security and intelligence lapses that led to this attack. India owes an explanation on reports of Adil Ahmed Dar’s arrest and custody since 2017,” the Foreign Office asked.

According to the Indian media, Adil Ahmad Dar was detained six times since between September 2016 and March 2018 for stone pelting and on suspicion of aiding activities of LeT.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman had stated after Janjua’s briefings that India would not investigate the terrorist attack. “The demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” the spokesman had said.

Pakistan responded on Monday that JeM remained a proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2002 and it was implementing its obligations on sanctions implementation. “As for Indian assertions about “JeM claims of responsibility” and purported “video of the attacker”, the Foreign Office questioned the selective and self-serving standards that India adhered to in this respect and drew attention to the clear dichotomy in the Indian position.

“On the one hand, India accepted the unverified social media content as “gold standard” and in contrast, it chose denial when confronted with voluntary confessions and acceptance of responsibility by its serving Naval Commander Jadhav for perpetrating terrorist violence in Pakistan,” said the Foreign Office.

Pakistan says it has rejected Indian allegations because these have been made within a short time from the attack and without carrying out any investigations. “These knee-jerk and pre-conceived accusations were nevertheless consistent with well-rehearsed tactics from Indian playbook after such incidents in the past”, it said.

The Foreign Office suggested to India to come out of denial mode and pointed to deliberate anti-Pakistan frenzy while warning that baseless Indian allegations and aggressive rhetoric were counterproductive and a threat to regional peace.

India had complained that it had not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on relations with India.

“What we have noticed, however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organizations such as JeM on the other,” Indian spokesman claimed.

Rebutting this view, Pakistan reminded that in his letter to Prime Minister Modi, Prime Minister Imran Khan followed his intention of taking two steps if India takes one, with the proposal for both foreign ministers to meet on the sidelines of the UNGA and a comprehensive, tangible roadmap for normalisation of ties.

“It was India which cancelled the meeting on baseless pretexts. Similarly, the Pakistan Kartarpur initiative is another step aimed at improving people to people contacts and deescalating a vitiated environment,” said the Foreign Office.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua Sunday apprised envoys from Africa and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states on Islamabad's position on the recent deadly attack targeting Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir's Pulwama area, and New Delhi's "knee-jerk" reaction blaming Pakistan and threatening it.

In her interaction with envoys belonging to the SCO states, Janjua "recalled a familiar pattern of India blaming Pakistan instantly after such incidents without any investigation", Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal tweeted.

The foreign secretary also briefed resident ambassadors from African states. A day earlier, the foreign secretary had taken envoys from the European Union and non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, on board to clear Islamabad's position over the Indian campaign against it.

AFP adds: Indian authorities Sunday withdrew police protection for five Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders in the Held Kashmir amid mounting fallout from the Pulwama suicide bombing.

Indian officials said police protection had been withdrawn for Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and four other leaders.

"We have decided to withdraw the security of separatist leaders in the wake of attack on security forces," home affairs ministry spokesman A. Bharat Bhushan Babu told AFP. Babu said the decision followed a call by the government for a review of security for those "taking money from Pakistan."

Until Sunday, Indian police had provided security details for the five men out of fear that an attack on Kashmiri political leaders could lead to an outbreak of violence in the Himalayan territory.

Mirwaiz, who has received police protection since the 1990 assassination of his leader father, heads the Hurriyat Conference, a coalition of local political parties that seeks independence for Kashmir or its merger with neighbouring Pakistan.

A Hurriyat spokesman dismissed the significance of government´s decision. "It has no bearing, neither can it change the reality of the lingering Kashmir dispute or the situation on the ground," he said.