ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday categorically rejected the so-called Indian “charge sheet” over the Pulwama attack saying it was designed to divert attention from Indian state terrorism in the occupied Kashmir. 

In a statement, the foreign ministry categorically rejected the so-called “charge sheet” by India’s National Investigation Agency, which mischievously attempted to implicate Pakistan in the Pulwama attack in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir last year.

“The fabrications in the reported “charge sheet” are patently designed to further the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)’s anti-Pakistan rhetoric and its narrow domestic political interests,” said the statement.

At the outset, Pakistan had rejected India’s baseless allegations and expressed readiness to extend cooperation on the basis of any actionable information.

“India failed to provide any credible evidence for its invective and has instead been using the attack for its malicious propaganda campaign against Pakistan,” the statement said.

The timing of the Pulwama attack, just two months before the Lok Sabha elections in India, and the fact that explosives used in the attack were collected from inside the occupied Kashmir, and the key accused persons in the attack have already been killed by Indian forces, raise too many questions, it added.

“The world knows well as to who benefited the most from the Pulwama attack and drew electoral dividends. It would be recalled that Indian military aircraft engaged in belligerent action against Pakistan on February 26, 2019,” the statement said.

The Indian misadventure, it said, was effectively countered by the Pakistan Air Force, which resulted in the downing of two Indian warplanes and capture of an Indian pilot. Despite India’s provocations, the Indian pilot was released by Pakistan as a peace gesture.

In response to a paper shared by the Indian government following the Pulwama attack, Pakistan constituted a high-level investigation team to examine its contents, it said.

“As the information provided by India was incomplete, patchy and unsubstantiated, Pakistan shared two Aides-memoir, seeking further information and supporting evidence from India. India has been unable to provide any corroboration of its unfounded allegations,” the statement said.

India, it said, cannot mislead the world community with its motivated propaganda. Indian allegations against Pakistan seek to divert attention from India’s state-terrorism in held Kashmir, grave human rights violations of the Kashmiri people under Indian occupation, and the RSS-BJP regime’s mishandling of domestic issues.

Pakistan has been forewarning the international community about India’s use of “false flag” operation and possible ill-conceived misadventure, it added.

“With the approaching state elections in India, the RSS-BJP ploy of raising the Pakistan bogey again for making electoral gains is palpable. We warn the world community again to be cognizant of its dangerous consequences for peace and security in the region,” the foreign ministry statement said.

Pak-US ties imperative for regional peace, says FM

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi yesterday said that Pakistan ties with the United States were imperative to ensure peace in Afghanistan and the region.

In a farewell meeting here with US Charge de Affaires Paul Jones, the Foreign Minister said that Pakistan had played a key role in the Afghan peace process.

Peace in Afghanistan, he said, was in Pakistan’s interest and the interest of the whole world.

The Foreign Minister said that the Afghan peace process had now reached a crucial phase and all Afghan sides should seize this historic opportunity and commence the intra-Afghan negotiations at the earliest to achieve an inclusive and comprehensive political settlement.

He highlighted the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He stressed that the international community must take steps to help alleviate the sufferings of the Kashmiri people and realization of their legitimate rights. “The US has a crucial role in this regard,” the Foreign Minister said.

Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated the US diplomat’s efforts for strengthening the Pak-US ties. He thanked the US diplomat for the timely US assistance to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Paul Jones lauded Pakistan’s role in the Afghan reconciliatory process and for peace and stability in the region,” said a foreign ministry statement.

Earlier, Pakistan had urged the Afghan Taliban to start talks soon with the Afghan government to end decades of conflict, telling visiting officials of the group that an intra-Afghan dialogue could help ensure regional stability.

The meeting between Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi and a Taliban delegation on August 25 came as Afghanistan’s peace process remains stalled over disagreements on a prisoners exchange.

“Pakistan is eager to see an intra-Afghan dialogue start soon to ensure regional peace and stability,” Qureshi said in a statement after meeting a delegation led by the head of the Taliban’s political office, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Talks between the Taliban and an Afghan-government mandated committee were to be held in the Qatari capital Doha following the completion of the prisoners exchange between the two sides.

But the completion of the swap has been delayed by disagreements between the Taliban and the Afghan government.