ISLAMABAD / NEW DELHI: India has handed Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit a demarche on what it called continuing cross-border terrorism from Pakistan – a claim quickly rejected by Islamabad.
New Delhi has already blamed Islamabad for stoking violence in Kashmir where dozens of civilians have been killed and thousands injured in a wave of protests since early last month.
Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar called Basit and referred specifically to a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant from Pakistan Bahadur Ali, who was allegedly captured recently in northern Kashmir during an encounter.
“Jaishankar called in the Pakistan envoy and issued a strong demarche on continuing cross-border terrorism from Pakistan,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup in a statement. “Demarche made specific reference to the LeT terrorist and Pakistani national Bahadur Ali who was apprehended recently,” he added. Ali has been given consular access after he was arrested.
Ali was arrested by Indian authorities in Jammu and Kashmir on July 25 with weapons, including AK-47 rifle, live rounds, grenades, grenade launcher, etc, and also sophisticated communication equipment and other material of Pakistani/international origin, according to the demarche issued to Basit.
“Bahadur Ali has confessed to our authorities that after training in Lashkar-e-Taiba camps, he was infiltrated into India. He was thereafter in touch with an ‘operations room’ of the LeT, receiving instructions to attack Indian security personnel and carry out other terrorist attacks in India,” it said.
Pakistan, however, rejected the Indian claim of cross-border infiltration. “We strongly reject the Indian claim of any cross-LoC infiltration. Pakistan remains committed to the policy of not allowing its territory for any terrorist activity against anyone,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement. “However, it is necessary to establish veracity of the Indian claim. Details in this regard will be gathered,” he added.
Separately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence and reached out to people of Kashmir, which has been witnessing widespread unrest triggered by the killing of a young separatist commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with the security forces over a month ago.
Meanwhile, a group of activists, including former BBC reporter Sir Mark Tully and others, will be leaving for the Wagah border to observe the customary lighting the candle at the border over the weekend that will see the independence days of both India and Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2016.