NEW DELHI: India on Saturday called out gaps in the Pakistani narrative on terrorism to ensure that the international community did not fall for “the same script” that Islamabad has been using after every terrorist attack on Indian soil.
“If Pakistan claims to be a “naya Pakistan with nayi soch”, it should show “naya action” against terrorist groups and terror infrastructure on its soil and end cross border terrorism in support of its claims,” said the MEA.
Pakistan, meanwhile, in order to comply with the Financial Action Task Force’s demands, announced Saturday that it would upgrade several banned organizations including the Jaish-e-Mohammad, to ‘high risk.’
Refusing to take Pakistan off its grey list last month, the Paris-based global watchdog against financial crimes had said Pakistan did “not demonstrate a proper understanding of the terror financing risks posed by Daesh, AQ (Al Qaeda), JuD (Jamaatud Dawa), FIF (Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation), LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammad), HQN (Haqqani network), and persons affiliated with the Taliban”.
But New Delhi remained unimpressed. After noting that the world had “has solidly stood with India” in condemning the Pulwama attack, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said “it is regrettable that Pakistan still continues to deny Jaish-e-Mohammed’s own claim of taking ownership of the Pulwama attack.”
“The widespread presence of terrorist camps in Pakistan is a public knowledge within and outside Pakistan. Repeated requests by us and the international community for Pakistan to take action against such groups have been met with denial,” he said.
Reading out from a prepared script at a Saturday morning briefing, Kumar said: “Since 26 February, following demands from the international community, Pakistan is again claiming to take fresh action against terror groups on its soil…Claims are being made that terrorist organizations will be proscribed, that some individuals have been placed in preventive detention and that some action has been taken against seminaries and Madarsas belonging to terrorist groups.”
However, “We are seeing the same script that has been played out earlier after the terrorist attacks on our Parliament in December 2001, the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 and the attack on Pathankot airbase in January 2016. Pakistan claims to proscribe groups and individuals, but this is confined only on paper. Actually, terrorist groups and individuals continue their activities without hindrance. Pakistan has not shown any serious intent to address the legitimate concerns of India and the global community,” he said.
“Despite the media interviews by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister and former President Musharraf acknowledging the presence of Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan, the spokesperson of the Pakistan armed forces openly denied the presence of Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan, in an interview on 6 March. This statement is a sufficient proof that Pakistan still remains in a state of denial,” he said.
Sources said that the strong reiteration of the Indian position was mostly to ensure that the US and other powers were made aware of “Pakistan’s continued, unabashed perfidy.” But this time, “we will ensure that Pakistan is judged not by its words, but by explicit, verifiable and sustained action it takes on the ground against terrorists and terror infrastructure on its soil,” said one source.
Meanwhile, reports from Washington said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed efforts to reduce tensions between the two South Asian neighbours with visiting British National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill.
Sedwill had called his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Friday, and expressed solidarity with India in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist attack. According to one source, “He (Sedwill) said that all assistance in dealing with any form of terrorism will be extended to India bilaterally through counter-terrorism cooperation, intelligence sharing and by bringing the perpetrators of terrorist attacks to justice.”