Pakistan's defence attaché to India got into a war of words with General Deepak Kapoor at a public function on Wednesday after the Indian Army chief held Pakistan’s ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) responsible for the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.
It is rare for a foreign diplomat to defy authority publicly in a country where he is posted.
Disagreeing with Kapoor’s reiteration of the Indian government’s stand at a function at the United Services Institution (a well-known defence think tank), Brigadier Muhammad Iqbal said India had furnished no evidence to prove that the bombing was plotted by the ISI.
On July 7, a car loaded with explosives rammed the embassy gates, killing over 50 people, including the Indian defence attaché and a senior diplomat.
Delivering a lecture, Kapoor said, “The ISI was behind the attack. It needs to be reined in.”
Iqbal waited for his turn to get even in the presence of a battery of foreign diplomats and journalists. At the interactive session, he confronted the army chief arguing, “Men in uniform (ISI) are already reined in and do not require any more reining in.”
As the chief heard him out without losing cool, Iqbal said, “A month has passed but India has furnished no proof of ISI’s involvement. We have condemned the bombing in strongest words… Pakistan’s deployment against global war on terror is more than that of any other country.”
An unruffled Kapoor defused the situation saying: “As a good neighbour, I would rather not comment on your comments.”
However, Iqbal told HT he felt “morally and professionally obliged” to refute charges made by Kapoor. “I have tremendous regard for General Kapoor but it was my moral obligation to clarify our position. If not, ISI would have been deemed to be involved,” he said.