The Pakistani media on Friday persisted with its muted coverage of the capture of a Pakistani terrorist after an attack in Jammu and Kashmir, with most media outlets focussing on the foreign office’s dismissal of India’s accusation as baseless.
Mohammad Naveed was nabbed shortly after he and an accomplice ambushed a BSF convoy and killed two troopers on Wednesday. Naveed told investigators he is a resident of Faisalabad in Pakistani Punjab. A Pakistan-based man acknowledged to Hindustan Times on Thursday he was the “unfortunate father” of Naveed.
Most Pakistani media outlets had blanked out or played down the report of Naveed being captured and his remarks that was a member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and had come to India to “kill Hindus”.
Read: Pak terrorist Naveed's father tells HT: Lashkar is after us, I'll be killed
On Friday, the muted coverage of Naveed’s case continued in the Pakistani media.
Leading dailies such as The News and The Express Tribune focussed on foreign office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah’s comments that India should share “necessary information” to verify Naveed’s nationality instead of levelling “baseless” allegations. Most newspapers also buried the reports about Naveed deep inside.
“We expect Indian authorities to share necessary information about him with us to enable verification of his national status,” Khalilullah told a weekly news briefing at the foreign office.
“We have affirmed many times that terrorism is our common enemy and requires a cooperative approach to combat the menace rather than a blame game,” he said.
The Express Tribune quoted an official source as saying that a preliminary investigation by Pakistani authorities had showed India’s allegations about Naveed to be “unsubstantiated and unwarranted”.
“The NADRA’s (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 was quoted as saying.
Indian security officials said Pakistan’s claim could not be taken at face value.
Pakistan currently has a population of more than 180 million and NADRA’s own website acknowledges that the authority has collected the data of “over 96 million citizens”. This means NADRA, which issues photo ID cards to Pakistanis, does not have details of almost half the country’s population, the Indian officials pointed out.
Islamabad had made a similar claim about Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive during the 2008 Mumbai attacks, before acknowledging his Pakistani nationality months later.
The ARY News channel mocked India’s assertion about Naveed, with an article on its website saying the “Indian media deserves due credit for its promptness in ‘investigating and concluding’ in every foul play that terrorists hail from Pakistan, even before the Indian government releases its word”.
The article further said: “It is believed that Indian government and its spy agencies effectively command their media against Pakistan and shaping up public opinion against the neighbouring country.
“In comparison, Pakistani media may be too rambunctious in reporting local political issues. But when it comes to international spectrum, some sanity seems to have prevailed. Pakistan often brave terror attacks, but it never targets India for the sake of demeaning other State’s authority. Here lies the responsibility factor that India media must emulate.”