India's network of 'extra-territorial killings' has gone global: FO

India's network of 'extra-territorial killings' has gone global: FO

Islamabad (Web Desk/Agencies): The Foreign Office (FO) on Wednesday said the news of Indian involvement in an extrajudicial killing in Canada had shown that the country’s "network of extra-territorial killings had now gone global".

"India’s assassination of a Canadian national on Canadian soil is a clear violation of international law and the UN principle of state sovereignty," FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said at a weekly press briefing.

She was responding to a question on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement that he had “credible evidence” linking the Indian state to Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder must be based on "some facts.'

Nijjar, 45, was shot dead in his vehicle by two masked gunmen in the busy car park of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in British Columbia, a Canadian province.

The FO spokesperson said the incident was a “reckless and irresponsible act” that called into question India’s reliability as a credible international partner and its claims for enhanced global responsibilities.

About India’s previous record, she said for decades, the Indian intelligence agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) had been actively involved in abductions and assassinations in South Asia.

"Pakistan remained a target of a series of targeted killings and espionage by RAW," she said, recalling that in December 2022, Pakistan released a comprehensive dossier providing concrete and irrefutable evidence of India’s involvement in the Lahore attack of June 2021. The attack was planned and executed by Indian intelligence.

Baloch said that in 2016, a high-ranking Indian military officer Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav confessed his involvement in directing, financing, and executing terror and sabotage in Pakistan.

On India’s accusation linking Pakistan with the Anantnag encounter, the FO spokesperson said that Pakistan had been stating time and again that India had the “habit of implicating Pakistan in anything that happens under its watch, especially in IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir)”.

Asked about engagement with India at levels of the foreign ministries and Director General Military Operations (DGMOs), she said the main channel of communication between Pakistan and India, ie, at the level of diplomatic missions had reduced its strength to charge d’affaires.

The FO spokesperson mentioned that if functional, the DGMO level also existed between the two countries.

To a question about the recent letter of Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar to the leader of the interim government of Afghanistan, she confirmed that the “routine” correspondence was made in response to Afghanistan’s congratulatory letter to the caretaker PM on assuming his office.

“These are diplomatic norms. Our PM’s letter was in that context – a positive message of friendship between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” she said.

Baloch said diplomacy means talking to the counterpart whenever there are difficult issues. “For us, it is important that we continue to engage with Afghanistan to discuss all issues that are concerned to Pakistan,” she said.

Regarding the address of Turkiye’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the UN General Assembly session, where he supported the Kashmir cause and proposed talks between Pakistan and India, the FO termed Turkiye as Pakistan’s “old friend and brother”.

“Turkiye always has had a principle stance on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute (J&K) and they are equally pained with the plight of Kashmiri people,” Baloch said.

She said Pakistan is ready to hold talks with India on all disputes, especially the core dispute of J&K.

“With regard to third-party mediation, Pakistan has always said that we would welcome it on the J&K issue on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions and in accordance with the principles of international law,” Baloch said.

The FO spokesperson said that Pakistan would continue to raise India’s state-sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan and its suppression of the people of IIOJK.

She said human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) continue unabated.

During the first eight months of this year, the Indian occupation forces in IIOJK killed 68 Kashmiris, including women and children with 13 custodial killings. Also, 2,900 persons including political activists, businesspeople, women, and youth were arbitrarily arrested.

Asked about Pakistan’s position on the escalation in Nagorno Karabakh issue, Baloch said Pakistan reaffirms its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, considering Karabakh its sovereign territory.

On the PM’s visit to New York to participate in the UNGA, the FO spokesperson said that a small delegation accompanied him including the foreign minister, foreign secretary, and some senior officials.

The FO spokesperson said that the prime minister, in his upcoming address on September 22, would outline Pakistan’s perspective on a range of regional and global issues, including the longstanding unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute on the UN Agenda.

"He will also share the measures taken by Pakistan to consolidate economic recovery and efforts to mobilize domestic and external investments," Baloch said.

To a question on the meetings of the US ambassador to senior officials of the Election Commission and police and also his visit to Gwadar, the FO spokesperson said that the foreign ambassadors in Pakistan are “at liberty to meet the government officials and public figures just as our ambassadors do” in their countries of postings.

On ties with Russia following a recent news report of Intercept, she said both countries had a very robust dialogue and a number of visits and exchanges had taken place.

"We continue to discuss matters of mutual interest and we believe that Russia understands that Pakistan has taken a neutral stance on the dispute between Russia and Ukraine," the FO spokesperson stated.