ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistan on Saturday said India was sponsoring “terrorism” aimed at destabilizing the country and targeting its economic partnership with China, accusations that top Pakistani officials delivered at a dramatic press conference.
Pakistan and India routinely accuse each other of targeting the other, but this was a rare time that Pakistani officials said they had prepared a mountain of evidence to back up the charges against their South Asian rival.
In a joint press conference in the capital of Islamabad, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, along with military spokesman Maj Gen. Babar Iftikhar, said that Indian intelligence agents were operating out of neighboring Afghanistan to plan attacks within Pakistani borders.
“India was allowing its land to be used against Pakistan for terrorism,” said Qureshi, adding that New Delhi was also planning attacks from “neighboring countries”.
Qureshi said Pakistan is sending its evidence to the United Nations demanding India be censured, warning that “without international intervention it is difficult to guarantee peace in nuclear South Asia,” a region where both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons.
“We have irrefutable facts that we will present before the nation and international community through this dossier,” the minister claimed.
There was no immediate comment from Indian officials to the claims by Pakistan’s government. New Delhi has likewise accused Pakistan of sponsoring militant groups that have carried out attacks inside its borders in recent years.
The presser comes a day after Pakistan’s military said five civilians and an army soldier were killed by shelling from Indian troops across the highly militarized border that separates the Pakistani and Indian sides of Kashmir. The disputed border in the Himalayan region is a source of longstanding conflict between the two powers.
Iftikhar, who heads the media and public relations office for Pakistan’s armed forces, presented some of the dossier’s evidence purporting to show India’s involvement in attacks within Pakistan, including bank receipts showing funding and photos showing alleged perpetrators of attacks inside the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
He also played an audio clip purporting to record a conversation between an Indian intelligence official and Allah Nazar, who is the top leader of Baluch separatist insurgents in southwest Pakistan.
Iftikhar added that Indian intelligence agents were especially targeting Chinese development projects that have come with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
He alleged that the attackers who led a deadly assault on a luxury hotel in the southwestern city of Gwadar in May 2019, were in telephone contact with Indian intelligence handlers before and during the assault. Chinese companies operate the Pakistani city’s key port facilities and it is considered a keystone of major Pakistani-Chinese trade projects.
The military spokesman also accused India of sponsoring banned organizations including U.N.-designated terrorist groups Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, and Allah Nazar’s Baluch Liberation Army.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s foreign ministry, Gran Hewad, said Saturday that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is planning to visit Afghanistan next week.
The foreign ministry said that this will be Khan’s first visit to Kabul as Pakistan’s prime minister. It wasn’t mentioned whether he would raise Pakistan’s allegations of Indian interference.
Associated Press writer Asim Tanveer in Islamabad and Tameem Akhgar in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.
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