On Pulwama attack, Pakistan asks India for more evidence and information

On Pulwama attack, Pakistan asks India for more evidence and information

On Pulwama attack, Pakistan asks India for more evidence and information

Pakistan on Wednesday sought more information and evidence from India to take forward cooperation in the investigation into the Pulwama suicide attack that was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed and killed 40 troops.

Islamabad made the demand for more evidence while sharing with New Delhi its preliminary findings after examining the dossier shared by India on the February 14 terror attack that triggered a major stand-off between the two sides.

India’s dossier had contained extensive evidence on JeM’s involvement in the bombing carried out by a 22-year-old man from Jammu and Kashmir. It also had information on JeM’s Pakistan-based chief Masood Azhar and other leaders of the banned terror group. The dossier was shared after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to act if “actionable evidence” was provided.

A statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Office said: “We have sought further information/evidence from India to take the process forward.”

There was no immediate response from Indian officials. Pakistan’s latest demand was similar to its response to the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 2016 assault on Pathankot airbase, when Islamabad had sought more evidence from New Delhi.

The Foreign Office statement said that after examining the Indian report on the Pulwama incident, the Pakistan government had shared its “preliminary findings” with Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria, who was called to the foreign ministry by secretary Tehmina Janjua.

It added Prime Minister Imran Khan had “offered cooperation in investigation if credible evidence was provided by India” and that India had handed over “a paper” on February 27.

“Pakistan has acted with a high sense of responsibility and extended full cooperation. We do so in the interest of regional peace and security,” the statement said.

Tensions between the two countries soared after the Pulwama attack, with India conducting an air strike on a JeM camp at Balakot in Pakistan on February 26, saying it feared the group was plotting more terror attack. A day later, Indian jet engaged Pakistani fighters along the Line of Control as they attempted to bomb Indian targets.

Pakistan downed a MiG-21 flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured across the LoC. Tensions eased after Khan released Varthaman amid growing international pressure on Islamabad to act against terrorist groups on its soil.

According to evidence collected by Indian security agencies, and reported by Hindustan Times on March 13, investigations revealed a WhatsApp number associated with JeM spokesperson Muhammed Hassan was used to claim responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack. This number was last active on WhatsApp at 4.42 pm on February 14, with the associated IP address being tracked to a location near Rawalpindi.

The evidence collected by India included a series of annexures – videos of speeches, pamphlets and social media posts on WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook using Pakistani numbers.

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