Imran Blames India for Attack on Pak Stock Exchange

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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan – File Pic

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed Monday’s attempted siege of the nation’s stock exchange on India, ratcheting up the war of words between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Khan told lawmakers in parliament that India was “no doubt” involved in the attacks. He didn’t give any evidence, and reiterated comments made by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday. The raid on the bourse in Karachi left four security personnel dead. All four gunmen were also killed.

India’s foreign ministry spokesperson rejected the accusation made by Qureshi on Monday, calling them “absurd.”

India and the U.S. see Pakistan as providing safe haven for militant groups and say that the leadership of groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the Mumbai attacks in 2008, still live freely in Pakistan. While Pakistan says India is funding militants in the restive Balochistan province.

Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack at the exchange on Monday, Associated Press reported. The attackers had planned a Mumbai-style operation and they wanted to take hostages, Khan said.

Pakistan, earlier this year, escaped being placed on a global financial blacklist after making some progress toward improving its controls on money laundering and militancy financing.

The Financial Action Task Force urged the nation to swiftly complete its full action plan by June and warned of the consequences if it does not make progress, which could include urging countries to advise financial institutions “to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan.”

“Pakistan cannot shift the blame on India for its domestic problems,” Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said on Monday. “Unlike Pakistan, India has no hesitation in condemning terrorism anywhere in the world, including in Karachi.”

India and Pakistan have fought three major wars since independence, two of them over Kashmir. A militant attack on an Indian police convoy in Kashmir in February 2019 and the ensuing military clash brought the rivals close to the brink again.

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