India has denied allegations by its arch foe Pakistan that the Indian government had helped fund armed groups on Pakistani soil, with a foreign ministry spokesman dismissing them as “fabricated” and “figments of imagination”.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday accused India of sponsoring “terrorism” aimed at destabilising the country and undermining its economic partnership with China. He said that Islamabad would present its evidence to the United Nations and other international bodies.
“This desperate attempt will find few takers as the international community is aware of Pakistan’s tactics,” India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.
He added that Pakistan itself funds rebels – an allegation Islamabad also denies.
“We expect the international community to force India to end its terrorism & bring to justice those responsible for killing thousands of innocent people in Pakistan,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Twitter.
A statement from Pakistan’s military said India was “training, harbouring and launching… terrorists into Pakistan,” from 87 training camps – 66 in Afghanistan and 21 in India.
The nuclear-armed neighbours – that have fought three wars since both won independence from colonial power Britain – have long accused each other of equipping rebels.
This desperate attempt will find few takers as the international community is aware of Pakistan’s tactics.
India’s foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava
But Saturday’s announcement by Pakistan’s foreign minister and military at a news conference in the capital Islamabad provided a heightened level of detail and specific accusations.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday that Islamabad had gathered “irrefutable” evidence of Indian involvement in “terrorist” activities impacting Pakistan [File: Farooq Naeem/AFP] ‘Irrefutable facts’
Pakistani officials said they had obtained documents that showed India had met with and funded members of the Pakistani Taliban, as well as armed groups from the southern province of Balochistan who have claimed responsibility for attacks on Chinese interests as part of an effort to sabotage China’s $65bn Belt and Road investment plan in Pakistan.
“We have irrefutable facts that we will present before the nation and international community through this dossier,” the Pakistani foreign minister claimed.
Major-General Babar 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.
We have irrefutable facts that we will present before the nation and international community through this dossier
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi
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 Baloch separatist fighters in southwest Pakistan.
The news conference came a day after at least 10 civilians and five security personnel were killed in cross-border shelling between the two rivals, in one of this year’s deadliest days.
India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped Kashmir of its limited autonomy last August [File: Anupam Nath/AP Photo]Pakistan’s military said five civilians and an army soldier were killed by shelling from Indian troops across the highly militarised border that separates the Pakistani and Indian sides of Kashmir.
India, meanwhile, has long alleged that Pakistan has founded, trained and funded secessionist groups operating in Indian-administered Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region claimed by both countries.
Last August, India’s Hindu nationalist government stripped Kashmir’s limited autonomy and brought the region under direct central rule – a step activists said took away Kashmiris’ democratic rights to choose the local government.
Also on Sunday, Afghanistan’s foreign ministry “strongly rejected” the Pakistani allegations its territory was used for acts of “terror”.
“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan explicitly declares that, as a major victim of terrorism, we are committed to a policy of combating all forms of terrorism, without discrimination around the world and will never allow Afghan territory to be used for destructive activities against other countries,” it said in a statement.