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Pakistan Accuses Indian Agents of Orchestrating the Killing of 2 Citizens on its Soil

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Pakistan Accuses Indian Agents of Orchestrating the Killing of 2 Citizens on its Soil

Pakistan joins Canada and the United States in alleging attempted or successful assassinations of anti-India actors on foreign soil.

Pakistan Accuses Indian Agents of Orchestrating the Killing of 2 Citizens on its Soil
Credit: Depositphotos

Pakistan on Thursday accused neighboring India’s intelligence agency of involvement in the extrajudicial killings of its citizens, saying it had credible evidence linking two Indian agents to the deaths of two Pakistanis in Pakistan last year.

“We have documentary, financial, and forensic evidence of the involvement of the two Indian agents who masterminded these assassinations,” Foreign Secretary Sajjad Qazi said at a news conference in Islamabad.

He said the assassination of Pakistani nationals on Pakistani soil was a violation of the country’s sovereignty and a breach of the United Nations Charter. “This violation of Pakistan sovereignty by India is completely unacceptable,” he said.

The two dead men, both anti-India militants, were killed in gun attacks inside mosques in separate cities in Pakistan.

The allegations come months after both the United States and Canada accused Indian agents of links to assassination attempts on their soil.

“Clearly the Indian network of extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings has become a global phenomenon,” Qazi said.

India denied the Pakistani allegation, calling it an “attempt at peddling false and malicious anti-India propaganda.”

“As the world knows, Pakistan has long been the epicenter of terrorism, organized crime, and illegal transnational activities,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said. “To blame others for its own misdeeds can neither be a justification nor a solution.”

Qazi said the Indian agents, whom he identified as Yogesh Kumar and Ashok Kumar, orchestrated the deaths of the two Pakistanis from a third country.

He said the killings involved “a sophisticated international setup spread over multiple jurisdictions. Indian agents used technology and safe havens on foreign soil to commit assassinations in Pakistan. They recruited, financed, and supported criminals, terrorists and unsuspecting civilians to play defined roles in these assassinations.”

Qazi said most of the men allegedly hired by the Indian agents for the killings had been arrested.

In September, gunmen killed anti-India militant Mohammad Riaz inside a mosque in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. He was a former member of the militant group Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which was founded by Hafiz Saeed, who also founded the outlawed group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was blamed by New Delhi for attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.

Qazi said the other Pakistani national, Shahid Latif, was killed in October inside a mosque in Pakistan’s Sialkot district. Latif was a close aide to Masood Azhar, the founder of the anti-India Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group, he said.

While Pakistan has only formally accused India of involvement in the killings of Riaz and Latif, a string of men with links to anti-India militant groups have been murdered under mysterious circumstances in Pakistan in recent years, as Siddharthya Roy outlined for The Diplomat last year.

Notably, Sikh separatist Paramjit Singh Panjwar of the Khalistan Commando Force was gunned down in Lahore on May 6, 2023. A month later, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian national and Sikh separatist leader, was killed in Canada; both murders used similar tactics. Canada claimed to have credible evidence of Indian involvement in Nijjar’s killing.

A former operative of India’s intelligence agency also told Roy in an interview that Indian security forces had orchestrated the murder of Khalid Bashir, then Hafiz Saeed’s chief security officer, in Lahore in 2013. There was also a string of unsolved murders targeting six men involved in the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814, dating from 2018 to 2022.

The Indian government has denied any involvement in these killings, and Pakistan’s government has not formally accused India, unlike in the two cases announced on Thursday.

Pakistan and India have a long history of bitter relations. Since independence from Britain in 1947, the two South Asian rivals have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.