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India says it has no hand in Charsadda attack

ISLAMABAD, 22 JAN (DNA) –  Both Pakistan and India have expressed restraint on the attack on the Bacha Khan University as the former refrained from drawing a “conclusion” while the investigation is under way and the latter made it clear that it had no hand in the incident.

India said that media allegations that it had any role in Wednesday’s terrorist attack on the university have not been shared with it at the official level by Pakistan. “We completely dismiss these totally baseless allegations,” a spokesman at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs told media briefing, adding that it has no hand in the incident.

He said, said, “In principle, we have welcomed the decision of the Pakistan government to consider sending a special investigative team (to India). The rest is a matter of detail. Where they can visit, what they can see, what will be the terms of reference, etc., as I said, those will need to be worked out in detail between the agencies on both sides provided the Pakistan government firms up its decision to send that special investigative team.”

He added that India would welcome a special investigative team. “As and when they (Pakistan) finalise the special investigative team, that is when the issue of the terms of reference of that team, the mandate of that team, where they can go, what they can see, all that will then be discussed between the investigative agencies of the two sides,” he added.

To another query the spokesman said that the two National Security Advisors have yet not met but they keep in touch. “We continue to closely follow up on the progress of the investigations in Pakistan on the Pathankot terrorist attack,” he said.

“As you know, we provided some actionable intelligence to Pakistan on the basis of which they arrested some members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, they sealed some places. We continue to expect robust action by Pakistan against all perpetrators of the Pathankot terrorist attack and bringing all of them to book,” he pointed out.

The spokesman appeared upset when a questioner asked whether the Pathankot attack and another one in Kabul were being coordinated from one centre which is attacking India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“On what basis can you say that they are all being coordinated from one centre? I mean attacks are happening all over the world. We just saw an attack in Jakarta also recently. We saw an attack in Istanbul. So, on what basis are you saying that?,” he asked the questioner.

“I think what these attacks really show is that terrorism is now the single greatest challenge facing the international community and everybody has to unite against this menace, this scourge, and end this distinction between good terrorists and bad terrorists once and for all,” the spokesman responded.

On the other hand, the Foreign Office in Islamabad said Pakistan is still investigating the gruesome terrorist attack on the University in Charsadda so it is premature to draw a conclusion at this time.

“It is premature to draw any conclusion as to who may be behind the Charsada university attack before investigations are complete. Secondly, investigations into the incident are underway. We should wait for completion of the investigations, before reaching any conclusion,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson said during the weekly media briefing.

“Initial investigations reveal that attackers were in contact with their handlers reportedly operating from Afghanistan,” he added. All fingers are once again being pointed at Afghanistan. On Thursday, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif telephoned the Afghan leadership in Kabul to share details of the investigations so far.

“The prompt and brave measures taken by our Army and security personnel against the terrorists saved many precious lives and are highly commendable. “The cowardly terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University has further strengthened the nation’s resolve to take all possible measures to eliminate terrorism from Pakistan,” said the spokesman.

To several queries about the involvement of the Pakistani Taliban based in Afghanistan, and whether Pakistan was raising this issue with the Afghan leadership, the spokesman said that as recently as last month “all issues of mutual interest and concern were discussed with them. Military leadership of the two countries also remains in touch with each other. Our Embassy too maintains close contact with Afghan authorities.”

He also pointed out that authorities of Pakistan and Afghanistan have met to discuss all issues of mutual concern. “But I believe that you have asked these questions with yesterday’s incident in mind. I would, therefore, like to emphasise the need to wait for completion of the investigations,” said the spokesman.

He added that due action will be taken against the perpetrators and facilitators of the attack once the process is completed. Umar Mansoor, of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Geedar group, Wednesday claimed responsibility for the Charsadda University attack as he had done earlier about the Army Public School attack more than a year ago.

To another query whether it was true that Thursday’s attack saw the gunmen shouting that they were from Daesh, the spokesman said, “Our response to questions regarding presence of Daesh in Pakistan is well known and has been reiterated many times. Daesh does not have organised presence in Pakistan.” DNA


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