A day after the Pulwama terror attack in which over 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers were killed, India on Friday summoned Pakistan’s envoy and lodged a strong protest.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and sources say a very strong demarche or diplomatic protest was lodged.
Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed the attack.
Government sources say India conveyed that Pakistan must take immediate and verifiable action against the Jaish-e-Mohammad and that it must immediately stop any groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories.
The Foreign Secretary and other secretaries have also started meeting envoys of the P5 countries, the Gulf, Japan and European nations to apprise them of Pakistan’s role in sponsoring terror. The P5 is a reference to the five permanent countries at the United Nations Security Council which also included China.
India’s envoy to Islamabad has been asked to come to Delhi for consultations on the next steps. Sources told NDTV that scaling down the strength of the High Commissions or even expelling the Pakistan High Commissioner is on the table.
On Thursday night, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement, saying, “this heinous and despicable act has been perpetrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based and supported terrorist organisation proscribed by the United Nations and other countries. This terror group is led by the international terrorist Masood Azhar, who has been given full freedom by Government of Pakistan to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity.”
India also appealed to all members of the international community to back the naming of Masood Azhar as a “UN designated terrorist” and “to ban terrorist organisations operating from territories controlled by Pakistan”, a clear reference to China which has been blocking all efforts to ban Azhar at the United Nations.
The US has also asked Pakistan to “immediately end support and safe haven to all terrorist groups”.
India on Friday also decided to remove “Most Favoured Nation” privileges given to Pakistan and said it would take all steps to ensure the country’s isolation globally.
“The most favoured nation status to Pakistan stands revoked,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, briefing the media on the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 7 Lok Kalyan Mark home in Delhi.