Islamabad says arch-rival India orchestrated killings inside Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has credible evidence linking Indian agents to the killings of two of its citizens on its soil, its foreign secretary said on Thursday (Jan 25), raising tensions between the two neighbouring arch-rivals.

The claim has come days after tit-for-tat strikes between Pakistan and another of its neighbours, Iran, to hit targets they said were hideouts for militants.

New Delhi also alleged that Islamabad trains and harbours militants who carry out attacks in its part of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is divided between the two nations.

Both the nuclear-armed countries have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

Muhammad Syrus Qazi, the secretary, told reporters the killings involved a “sophisticated international set-up” spread over a number of places.

“We have documentary, financial and forensic evidence of the involvement of the two Indian agents who masterminded these assassinations,” he said.

Qazi said local operators, hired and recruited by the Indian agents operating in other countries, carried out the killings late last year, one in Sialkot district and another in Rawalakot in Pakistan-held part of Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Hired guns and other people involved in the two crimes were on trial, he added and identified the alleged Indian agents as Yogesh Kumar and Ashok Kumar. He said the other countries where the Indian agents allegedly operated had been notified.

Those killed were identified as Shahid Latif and Mohammad Riaz by the foreign secretary, without disclosing who these people were and why would New Delhi got its agents to kill them inside its arch-rival’s territory.

India’s foreign ministry said the accusation was an attempt by Pakistan to peddle “false and malicious anti-India propaganda”.

Qazi said the method of assassination was similar to attempts in Canada, the United States and other countries.

The alleged Indian network of “extra-judicial and extra-territorial killings” had become a global phenomenon, he said.

Pakistan’s allegations come months after both Canada and the United States separately accused Indian agents of being linked to assassination attempts on their soil.

India has rejected Ottawa’s allegations and has opened an investigation into US allegations.

Ties between the two rivals have been on ice since a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in Kashmir in 2019 traced to Pakistan-based militants that led to New Delhi sending warplanes to Pakistan.

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