New Delhi: India on Saturday demanded that Pakistan take “credible, verifiable and sustained action" against terrorist groups on its soil as it dismissed Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan’s latest comments that Pakistan would not allow terrorist groups to operate from its soil.
New Delhi also accused Islamabad of acting as the spokesman of the Jaish e Mohammed terrorist group that claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that claimed the lives of 40 Indian paramilitary personnel last month.
“If Pakistan claims to be a “naya Pakistan with nayi soch", it should show “naya action" against terrorist groups and terror infrastructure on its soil and end cross border terrorism in support of its claims," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters.
Kumar’s comments come a day after Imran Khan in an interview said: "This government will not allow Pakistan's land to be used for any kind of outside terrorism. We will not allow any terror group to function in our country now."
Khan’s statement is at seeming variance with what military spokesman Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday where Ghafoor had said there was no Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group in or operating from Pakistan.
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Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had previously told news networks CNN and BBC that JeM chief Masood Azhar was in Pakistan though he was “very unwell" and that “someone" in Pakistan had been in touch with the group who denied any involvement in the 14 February suicide terrorist attack in Pulwama respectively.
The Pulwama attack increased tensions between India and Pakistan with New Delhi ordering an air strike inside Pakistani territory on 26 February.
Pakistan launched a retaliatory air strike on India on 27 February targeting Indian military targets in Kashmir that India repulsed. Both countries said they had downed a fighter jet of the other side with Pakistan capturing and Indian pilot who was subsequently sent back.
In his briefing on Saturday, Kumar said Pakistan had continued propagating “a false narrative of the events" with Islamabad denying it had lost an aircraft as well as it had used US made F 16s against India.
“Only one aircraft was lost by us. If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week?" Kumar said.
“Questions should be asked to them as to where the fuselage of the aircraft is and what has happened to the pilots?... Evidence of the use of AMRAAM Missile, which can only be deployed on the F-16 with Pakistan, has also been shown to the media. Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16 aircraft has been shot down? We have asked the United States to also examine whether the use of F16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale," he said.
It was “regrettable that Pakistan still continues to deny Jaish-e-Mohammed’s own claim of taking ownership of the Pulwama attack," kumar said citing Qureshi’s interview to the BBC where the Pakistan Foreign Minister said that the JeM had not claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.
“Is Pakistan defending the Jaish-e-Mohammed and acting as its spokesperson? Does Pakistan’s claim have any credibility?" Kumar said.
Pointing to Qureshi’s interview to CNN in which he had said that Azhar was in Pakistan though very unwell, Kumar said, this was “sufficient proof that Pakistan still remains in a state of denial."
India remained “resolute in our determination to persuade the international community of the necessity of compelling Pakistan to move beyond mere words and to show credible, verifiable and sustained actions," he said.