ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has accused rival India of running dozens of training camps in Afghanistan for multiple globally outlawed militant groups to plot terrorism on Pakistani soil to destabilize the country.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and army spokesman Major-General Babar Iftikhar, at a joint news conference Saturday, presented what they said was “irrefutable evidence” linking India directly to almost all recent terrorist attacks across Pakistan.
Babar displayed for the first time what he said were documents, banking transactions worth millions of dollars, audio clips and details of contacts between Indian intelligence operatives and diplomats with fugitive Pakistani militants operating out of Afghanistan.
“Uncontrivable evidence reveals that Indian embassies and consulates operating along Pakistan’s borders have become hub of terror sponsorship against Pakistan,” the general said.
“We have verifiable evidence of terrorists funding by India. Indian ambassadors in Afghanistan have been regularly supervising various terrorist activities,” Babar added.
Neither Indian officials nor the Afghan government have immediately commented on the Pakistani allegations, though both New Delhi and Kabul have in the past rejected similar allegations levelled by Islamabad.
“The evidence provided by Pakistan provides concrete proof of Indian financial and material sponsorship of multiple terrorist organizations, including U.N.-designated terrorist organizations Jamaat ul Ahrar, Bloch Liberation Army and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan,” Qureshi said.
The groups Qureshi named are believed to have taken shelter in Afghanistan after fleeing years of sustained Pakistani counterterrorism operations. U.S. drone strikes against suspected militant hideouts in the neighboring country have also killed top fugitive leaders of these groups.
The foreign minister said his government would share the “dossier” with the United Nations and five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, including the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France to pressure India to halt its terrorist actives inside Pakistan.
“We are now presenting irrefutable evidence to the world to demonstrate the Indian state’s direct sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan that has resulted in the deaths of innocent Pakistanis. The international community can no longer turn a blind eye to this rogue behavior,” Qureshi said.
Michael Kugelman, deputy director Asia program at Washington’s Wilson Center, observed that Pakistan’s allegations about Indian-sponsored terror are not new at all.
“They’ve been made for years. What is new is providing more detail on the allegations and placing these details squarely in the public [and global] eye,” tweeted Kugelman.
Pakistan’s allegations came a day after military skirmishes with India along the de facto frontier in disputed Kashmir killed at least 13 people on both sides. One injured nearly 30, with both sides accusing each other of initiating the fighting in violation of a mutual cease-fire.
“It’s a serious escalation … We have given them a very befitting reply. There have been massive losses on Indian side in men and material,” Babar told reporters Saturday.
Pakistan confirmed the clashes had killed one of its soldiers and four civilians while 17 other people, including five soldiers, also were wounded.
For their part, Indian military officials accused Pakistani troops of committing “unprovoked” cease-fire violations and reported the death of four soldiers and four civilians on their side of the Kashmir ceasefire boundary, known as the Line of Control. The de facto border splits Indian- and Pakistani-administered parts of the Himalayan region, which both India and Pakistan claim in its entirety
The nuclear-armed rival countries have fought several wars and low-intensity conflicts over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. Pakistan and India mutually declared a cease-fire on the LoC in 2003 in a bid to ease regional tensions.
However, the truce has been almost torn apart in the face of frequent military clashes in recent years, fueling tensions and plunging bilateral relations to historic lows.