India asks Pakistan for concrete crackdown on terror groups

NEW DELHI (AP) — India yesterday demanded that Pakistan take concrete steps against terrorists operating from its territory, while at the same time returning its top diplomat to Islamabad amid an easing of tensions between the nuclear rivals.

Pakistan announced earlier this week that its high commissioner to India was returning to New Delhi, weeks after the two countries recalled their top diplomats for consultations as tensions flared after suicide attack on a convoy of Indian paramilitary soldiers in the Indian-held Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers.

India blamed that attack on a Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and launched a retaliatory airstrike inside Pakistan.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said yesterday that a reported Pakistani crackdown this week on seminaries, mosques and hospitals belonging to outlawed groups and arrest of dozens of people was not enough.

He said Pakistan should take concrete steps “against terrorists and terror infrastructure” on its territory.

Kumar said a recent United Nations (UN) statement also called for “perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of terrorism to be held accountable and brought to justice”.

He accused Pakistan of failing to take any credible action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terrorist organisations, which he said continued to operate with impunity from Pakistan.

A Pakistani policeman stands guard as people come out of the Al-Qadsia mosque. – AP

“The widespread presence of terrorist camps in Pakistan is a public knowledge within and outside Pakistan,” he said.

Pakistan said it has arrested 44 people, including the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar who was apparently named in a dossier given to Islamabad by New Delhi. It also said shut a number of facilities and frozen assets of several outlawed organisations.

Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said yesterday that his country was acting against the banned militant outfits and it would not allow anyone to “use the Pakistani land for terrorism against any country”.

He also said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked India to send evidence it has against anybody.

“India hasn’t shared yet any actionable information and proof against anybody,” he added.

Chaudhry also said Khan has invited India to take part in a joint investigation and negotiations, but there had been no response from the Indian side.

New Delhi’s retaliatory strike in the northwest Pakistan town of Balakot last month, sent tensions spiralling.