NEW DELHI India Tuesday rejected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments on the Pulwama attack, saying disclaiming Pakistan’s link with militants attacks is an oft-repeated excuse by thenerve centre of terrorism.
India’s seven-point hard hitting response came hours after Khan said he would act against the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack if India shares “actionable intelligence”, but warned against any retaliatory action.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said India was not surprised that Khan refused to acknowledge the attack on India’s security forces in Pulwama as an act of terrorism, adding his offer to investigate the attack if provided proof is a “lame excuse”.
“Disclaiming any link between the terrorist attack and Pakistan is an oft-repeated excuse by Pakistan. The Pakistani Prime Minister has ignored claims made by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, as well as by the terrorist, who perpetrated this heinous crime,” the MEA said.
“It is a well-known fact that Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan. These should be sufficient proof for Pakistan to take action,” it said.
“The Prime Minister of Pakistan has offered to investigate the matter if India provides proof. This is a lame excuse. 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, the MEA said, there has been no progress.
“Promises of ‘guaranteed action’ ring hollow given the track record of Pakistan,” the MEA said.
It said Pakistan claimed to be the greatest victim of terrorism but this is far from truth.
“The international community is well acquainted with the reality that Pakistan is the nerve centre of terrorism,” the MEA said.
It also came down hard on the Pakistan prime minister for his comments linking India’s upcoming general elections to the narrative of blaming Pakistan. He said it would make it easier to get votes from the masses.
“It is regrettable that the Pakistani Prime Minister has insinuated that India’s response to the terrorist attack is determined by the forthcoming general election,” the MEA said.
Rejecting the “false allegation”, the MEA said India’s democracy was 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 Pulwama terrorist attack and other terrorists and terror groups operating from areas under their control,” it said.
On Khan’s reference to build a new Pakistan, the MEA said, “In this ‘Naya Pakistan,’ ministers of the current government publicly share platforms with terrorists like Hafeez Saeed who have been proscribed by the United Nations.”
“Pakistan’s Prime Minister has called for dialogue and expressed his readiness to talk about terrorism. India has repeatedly stated that it is ready to engage in a comprehensive bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror and violence,” the MEA said.
China Urges Restraint
China on Tuesday urged restraint by India and Pakistan amid escalating tensions over the Pulwama attack and called on both the countries to peacefully resolve their issues through dialogue as soon as possible.
The attack has heightened bilateral tensions with both New Delhi and Islamabad calling back their envoys for “consultations”. India on Friday announced the withdrawal of the Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan and hiked the customs duty by 200 per cent on goods originating from the neigbouring country.
“Pakistan and India are both important countries in South Asia. A stable bilateral relationship between the two is essential to the peace and stability in the region,” Geng Shuang, spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry told a media briefing when asked about the tensions between the two countries following the Pulwama attack.
“South Asia has maintained an overall stability which should be cherished and upheld by all sides. China hopes that Pakistan and India will exercise restraint, engage in dialogue and realise the soft landing of the relevant issues as soon as possible,” he said.
To another question about Saudi Arabia and Pakistan signing USD 20 billion agreement for Saudi investments in Pakistan during the just concluded visit of Saudi crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Geng said, “China is glad to see Pakistan having friendly exchanges and cooperation with other countries including Saudi Arabia”.
On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Geng said, “It will help with connectivity and shared development. China is ready to on the basis of consultation and consensus with Pakistan have a third party cooperation.”
“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a pilot project under the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative). It is committed to consultation and collaboration for shared benefits and when foreign minister Wang Yi visited Pakistan the two sides agreed to third party cooperation under this framework.
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