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Pakistan rejects role in Uri attack, Sharif rakes up Kashmir unrest

india Updated: Sep 19, 2016 20:45 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
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Soldiers guard the army base which was attacked by militants in Uri, on Monday. (PTI)

Pakistan rejected on Monday India’s assertion that it was involved in the terror attack in Uri that killed 18 soldiers, with the country’s leadership accusing New Delhi of levelling the accusation to divert attention from the situation in Kashmir.

Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, dwelt more on the situation in Kashmir, especially the unrest triggered by the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani. He did not condemn the Uri attack, which India has blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

Pakistan Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, who chaired a meeting of the army’s Corps Commanders at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, described India’s reaction to the Uri attack as a “hostile narrative”. He said the armed forces were prepared to respond to the “entire spectrum of direct and indirect threat”.

The commanders reviewed the security situation and Sharif said the military would “thwart any sinister design against integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan”.

There was also no offer of cooperation to investigate the Uri attack, as was done by Pakistan in the aftermath of the terror strike on Pathankot airbase in January.

“Pakistan categorically rejects the baseless and irresponsible accusations being levelled by senior officials in Prime Minister Modi’s government,” Aziz said in the statement issued by the Foreign Office.

“It was particularly deplorable that the Indian minister chose to blame Pakistan for the incident even prior to conducting proper investigation. The statement is part of a pattern to mislead world opinion and cover up India’s reign of terror in (Kashmir),” he added.

Smoke rises from the army base under attack by militants in the town of Uri, west of Srinagar on Sunday. (HT Photo)

Heavily armed terrorists stormed an army camp close to the Line of Control at Uri on Sunday, killing 18 soldiers and injuring more than 20 others. Home minister Rajnath Singh pointed a finger at Pakistan for its “continued and direct support” to terror groups and Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the perpetrators would not go unpunished.

But Aziz contended the allegations were a “blatant attempt on India’s part to deflect attention from the fast deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation” in Kashmir.

“It needs to be understood that the situation in (Kashmir) is not of Pakistan’s making but a direct consequence of illegal Indian occupation and a long history of atrocities that has resulted in over a 100,000 deaths. More than 100 people have died and thousands injured during the recent episode of protest...,” he said.

Read | Army talks tough after Uri attack, says India reserves right to retaliate

In a related development, Prime Minister Sharif wrote letters to the leaders of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the UK and the US – about “grave human rights violations” in Kashmir by Indian forces.

The letters referred to the “extremely negative implications of the dire situation” in Kashmir on regional and international security. Sharif called on the P5 nations to fulfil their responsibility with regard to Kashmir and the implementation of UN Resolutions on the issue.

Full coverage: Uri terror attack

(With input from agencies)