Pulwama attack: Evidence shows Pakistan’s mentoring of Jaish continues
The Indian government stepped up diplomatic efforts to isolate Pakistan after the JeM, a terror group based on its soil, claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack.
The evidence India shared with Pakistan following a suicide bombing in Pulwama that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers shows that the neighbouring country has kept up efforts to launch and support terror groups including the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), according to findings of investigations by Indian agencies.
The Indian government stepped up diplomatic efforts to isolate Pakistan after the JeM, a terror group based on its soil, claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack. India shared evidence of terrorist safe havens with the Pakistan government shortly after the attack, even as Islamabad said the Masood Azhar-led group has denied its hand in the bombing.
“Pakistan has regularly provided weapons, training, financial support and use of its soil for these terrorist groups. Pakistani forces help the infiltrating groups to cross over into the Indian territory using all means, including covering fire. Mentored and facilitated by the Pak establishment/ISI, Pak/PoK-based terrorist outfits operating in J&K continued their inimical activities against India,” India told Pakistan in a document, reviewed by HT.
Data collected by security and intelligence agencies shows that 254 terrorists were killed in Jammu and Kashmir last year, and 115 of those were of Pakistani origin. “Since 2004, over 1,900 Pakistani terrorists have been killed in the state,” the document added. India has maintained that the ISI, Pakistan’s spy agency, has continued to assist Pakistani terrorists crossing over into India by providing them training, identifying new infiltration routes, coordinating among terror camps and raising funds.
The terrorist group led by Azhar, who is said to be living in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur, is behind some of the worst terrorist attacks in India, including the September 2016 raid on an Indian Army facility at Uri that killed 19 and an assault on an airbase the same year in Pathankot.
Since the Pathankot attack, JeM terrorists have carried out more than a dozen attacks in India, according to the document. “The involvement of JeM terrorists in connivance with Pakistani security agencies is evident in all these attacks. However, Pakistan continues to remain in denial mode despite glaring evidence. Moreover, no action has been taken by Pakistan Government on Letter Rogatories (LR) and investigation requests by India.”
India is making efforts along with the United States, France and Britain to list Azhar through the United Nation’s Islamic State and al Qaeda Sanctions Committee. The listing will go ahead on March 13 if it isn’t blocked by any member of the UN Security Council. China has in the past vetoed attempts to designate Azhar.
“As part of its cyber campaign, several hundred audio/video messages of Masood Azhar have been despatched from across. JeM continues to mobilise public opinion for the ‘Kashmir cause’ as well as seek support from Pak establishment/ISI. In 2018, JeM succeeded in recruiting large number of local youths in Valley as well as exploited routes on IB [International Border] for infiltrating its cadres into J&K,” the document said. “JeM was also noticed for targeting SF [security forces] camps using assault rifles of bigger calibres like M4 rifle. All this would not be possible without state’s patronage,” it added.
Indian fighter jets on February 26 bombed a site in Balakot in Pakistan, known to be a terrorist training centre of the JeM, after the Pulwama attack. The strikes triggered a sharp escalation in tensions with Pakistan, which attempted an air operation in retaliation, and brought back into focus Islamabad’s inaction over curbing terrorist groups operating on its soil.
The Indian evidence, to which Pakistan is yet to respond, also provides exact coordinates and satellite images of terrorist training camps that are flourishing in the absence of any action from the government and security agencies. “At least 18 training camps are functional in Pak/PoK.”
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