Islamabad/New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) Pakistan on Thursday claimed that it had “credible evidence” of links between what it called as "Indian agents" and the assassination of two Pakistani terrorists associated with the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Sialkot and Rawalkot last year.
India dismissed the charge as “false and malicious” propaganda by Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi alleged at a press conference at Islamabad that India was carrying out “extra-territorial and extra-judicial killings” inside Pakistan.
Shahid Latif, a key aide of terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed’s chief Masood Azhar and the mastermind of the 2016 attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, was gunned down in a mosque in Sialkot in Punjab province on October 11, 2023.
On September 8, 2023, Riyaz Ahmad alias Abu Qasim, affiliated with the proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit, who was one of the main conspirators behind the Dhangri terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir on January 1, 2023 was shot dead by unidentified gunmen inside the Al-Qudus mosque during pre-dawn prayers in the Rawalkot area in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
“Indian agents used technology and safe havens on foreign soil to commit assassinations in Pakistan. They recruited, financed, and supported criminals, terrorists, and unsuspecting civilians to play defined roles in these assassinations,” Qazi said.
The foreign secretary pointed towards Indian media and social media accounts that had immediately claimed and glorified these killings as “successful retribution against enemies of India” and projected their capacity to carry out “these illegal acts”.
Reacting sharply to Pakistan's allegations, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal in New Delhi dismissed it as “Pakistan's latest attempt at peddling false and malicious anti-India propaganda.
As the world knows, Pakistan has long been the epicentre of terrorism, organised crime, and illegal transnational activities,” Jaiswal said.
“India and many other countries have publicly warned Pakistan cautioning that it would be consumed by its own culture of terror and violence,” Jaiswal said, adding, “Pakistan will reap what it sows! To blame others for its own misdeeds can neither be a justification nor a solution.” During his press conference, the Pakistani foreign secretary Qazi also alleged that the potential assassins were recruited using social media, talent spotters, and fake Daesh accounts.
Referring to Shahid Latif’s assassination, Qazi said, “A detailed investigation revealed that an Indian agent, Yogesh Kumar, based in a third country, orchestrated the assassination.” Kumar recruited Muhammad Umair, a labourer in the third country, to act as a contact with local criminals in Pakistan to trace and assassinate Latif, however, “they were unable to carry out the execution,” he claimed.
“After some of the failed attempts, Muhammad himself was personally sent to Pakistan to carry out the assassination,” the foreign secretary said, adding that Muhammad organised a team of five target killers and succeeded.
All those involved in the killings were apprehended and a case was being tried in the court of law. “We have evidence of transactions made in the process linking the entire chain to Indian agent Yogesh Kumar,” Qazi claimed.
“Another Indian agent was involved in the killing of a Pakistan man, identified as Muhammad Riaz,” he claimed, possibly referring to Riyaz Ahmad alias Abu Qasim.
The killer, Muhammad Abdullah Ali, was arrested while boarding a flight at Karachi and the interrogation has revealed that he was “recruited and guided by Indian agents Ashok Kumar Anand and Yogesh Kumar,” Qazi claimed.
Pakistan's statement comes months after both Canada and the United States separately accused Indian agents of being linked to assassination attempts on their soil. However, New Delhi has rejected Ottawa's allegations and has launched an investigation into Washington’s claims. PTI SH MPB NPK AKJ NPK NPK