Islamabad has asked New Delhi to share ‘necessary information’ in order to verify the nationality of a man Indian authorities arrested in connection with an attack on a military convoy in Indian-administered Kashmir.
India’s Union Minister Rajnath Singh had told the country’s parliament that initial investigations had identified the suspect as Mohammad Naveed Yakub alias Usman Khan, a resident of Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Read: Pakistan rejects India's claim of Kashmir militant's Pakistani origin
At his weekly news briefing on Thursday, Qazi Khalilullah, the spokesperson for Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO), said he had seen media reports of the man arrested in India being projected as a Pakistani national.
“I will not comment on media reports. [But] we expect Indian authorities to share necessary information about him with us to enable verification of his national status,” he said.
Qazi made it clear that Pakistan had several times affirmed that terrorism was a common enemy and that a cooperative approach, rather than a blame game, is needed to combat the menace. “Pointing fingers without investigations and evidence is not a healthy trend on the part of Indian media,” he said.
NADRA record shows Indian claims ‘baseless’
Although the FO spokesperson refrained from commenting on Indian claims about the suspect’s identity, an official source told The Express Tribune that preliminary investigations by Pakistani authorities showed New Delhi’s assertions to be ‘unsubstantiated and unwarranted.’
“The NADRA [National Database and Registration Authority] record shows that India’s claims that the arrested person, Usman Khan, originated from Pakistan are totally baseless,” the source insisted.
The latest incident came at a time when relations between the two neighbours are already tense due to cross border firing.
On Thursday, the Pakistan Army lodged a strong protest with the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan and asked for investigations into unprovoked firing and shelling by Indian troops on August 4. The army said Indian forces deliberately targeted civilians in the Pukhlian sector on the working boundary with heavy weapons, killing three of them and injuring as many as 22 others.
Replying to a question, the FO spokesperson said Pakistan was considering the dates proposed by India. “It is premature to talk about the agenda of the meeting which will be prepared in due course,” he added.
Read: Suspected militants kill soldier in Indian occupied Kashmir
When his attention was drawn to a recent article by the former chief of the Federal Investigation Agency which maintained that the November 2008 Mumbai attacks were coordinated and launched from Pakistani soil, the spokesperson said additional information was required from India to conclude the trial against suspects.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2015.