India terms Imran’s response to Pulwama attack ‘lame excuse’

New Delhi: Hours after Prime Minister Imran Khan said allegations against his country are without any evidence and that his government would act only if India provides actionable evidence, India said Pakistan disclaiming any link with terrorist attacks is an often repeated lame excuse and that the country was the nerve centre for such groups.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement saying, “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.

Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan and that these should be sufficient proof for Pakistan to take action. Imran’s offer to investigate the attack if provided proof is a lame excuse, said the MEA.

Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with over 100 kg of explosives into a bus carrying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Pulwama district on 14 February. 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured in the incident. Since the Uri attack in 2016, the Pulwama incident has been termed as one of the worst terror attacks in the recent past. The suicide bomber was identified as Adil Ahmed, who had joined the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in 2018. The terror group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

Responding to allegations on Pakistan’s involvement in the attack, yesterday, in a video message, Imran Khan said, his nation was looking for stability and if India took action against Pakistan, they would retaliate. “I understand this is an election year and it would look good if the government took action during this time,” he said in the video.

Slamming his remarks on the coming elections, the MEA said, “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.”

Pointing to the 26/11 attack, MEA said proof was given to Pakistan then but despite that no progress has taken in the case.

It further demanded 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.

Referring to Khan’s statement, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said three things are obvious. “First, there is not even a pretext of outright condemnation of the incident. Second, let alone sympathy for the bereaved families, not even lip sympathy for them. And third, a very shallow logic that ‘provide to us actionable intelligence’ as though the origin of crime is not known.”

NT Bureau