No Link Between Pulwama Attack, Pakistan-based Outfit: Ex-Pakistan envoy

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The site on the Srinagar-Jammu highway where 49 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed in an audacious suicide attack by militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Feb 14, 2019. — IANS

Pakistan’s former High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi refused to accept that the attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama of, which led to the death of more than 40 troopers, was an act of terror rather he calls it resistance…armed resistance.

NEW DELHI (IANS) — India has not given any evidence to establish link between Pulwama terror attack and an organisation based in Pakistan, said Pakistan’s former High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and insisted that the new government under Prime Minister Imran Khan has been taking action against terror outfits in the country.

“As far as Pulwama thing (terror attack) is concerned, India’s attempt to link Pakistan seems to have completely flopped, a complete failure. It was a suicide bomber. What is the authenticity of the video, in which he claims to be a member of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)? There is absolutely no evidence which can link any organisation based in Pakistan or Azad Kashmir (Pakistan-administered Kashmir) with this incident,” Qazi said in an interview to Tiranga TV programme “Upfront” aired on Sunday.

He said Pakistan had, however, started taking measures against all extremist organisations.

“We have taken measures with regard to closing down their offices, stopping their finances. There are a whole lot of measures under consideration… We now have a new government with a new determination to do kind of things which might not have happened before,” said Qazi, also former Ambassador to the United States, China and Russia.

On JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan identifying the suicide bomber soon after the Pulwama attack, Qazi said: “Even if he made such a statement, that is not an evidence. People make statements all the time.”

He said India claimed it had “incontrovertible evidence”.

“Show the evidence. Of course, that will be considered. And you have distributed the evidence all over the world. If there is a credible evidence, they will come back,” he said.

Qazi refused to accept that the attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir, which led to the death of 40 troopers, was an act of terror.

“It was an attack on them, which led to the unfortunate loss of life. It does not automatically meet the requirements of the definition of terror. It is resistance…armed resistance,” he said.

“US General Assembly resolution defines terrorism. There is as yet no UN definition of terror, but there are existing UN General Assembly resolutions which legitimise armed resistance to oppression, which denies the exercise of acknowledged rights of the community, who then take arms on behalf of those. This is not terror.”

Qazi said the Pulwama crisis would give way to more peaceful interaction, including the possibility of the top leadership of the two countries meeting each other.

“After all they will be meeting for the very first time since Imran became Prime Minister and to try and chart a way forward.

“The primary commitment of Imran is to build new Pakistan, corruption-free Pakistan, with deep structural reforms, all of which need a peaceful neighbourhood. Major reduction in tension with neighbours primarily includes India. If we are able to step on to that path together, I do think he will have space to build that Pakistan. Then we can try and see whether we can transform our mutual narratives to be more inclusive and include more positive elements…”

Qazi said the F-16 fighter jet did not cross the LoC but said the Americans said they wanted to have an investigation.

“We have agreements with the American on use of F-16. They are used for defence purpose on our territory. The negative narrative…is partially based on inventive and fake evidence.”

He said let the US Embassy in Pakistan complete the investigation and then see what came out of it.

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