Amid escalating tensions with its neighbor and an increased threat of global isolation, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked the country’s military — including intelligence agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) — to crack down on terrorist groups and expedite proceedings for probes into major terror attacks in India, in a “blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning.”
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that during an undisclosed meeting between Pakistan’s civilian government and military leadership, Sharif asked military-led intelligence “not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action.”
Sharif also directed that authorities conclude investigations into the 2016 attack in the Indian border city of Pathankot and also push forward trails related to the 2008 Mumbai attacks that are pending in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.
In order to remedy the “growing international isolation of Pakistan” and gain consensus on the government’s plan of action, ISI chief Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar and National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua have embarked on a tour of four Pakistani provinces to spread the message to the spy agency’s local commanders, the newspaper reported.
Relations between Pakistan and India have deteriorated since terrorists reportedly attacked the Indian army base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, last month, killing 19 Indian soldiers. The attacks were condemned by the international community and the United States Secretary of State John Kerry made a call to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj expressing concern over the matter. India says the attacks were carried out by Pakistan-based militants and reportedly retaliated through “surgical strikes” across the line of control (LoC) last Thursday. Pakistan has denied that any such strikes took place.
There have been reportedly more militant attacks on Indian army bases in Kashmir over the past week — the first at the counter-insurgency group 46 Rashtriya Rifles camp in Baramulla, where one soldier was killed and the latest early Thursday at an army base in Kupwara district, near the LoC, where all three militants were neutralized.
Col. Rajiv Saharan of 30 Rashtriya Rifles told Indian news agency ANI: “The medicines recovered have ‘made in Pakistan’ markings on them, this ascertains that these three terrorists were from Pakistan.”
Pakistan has denied any involvement in the attacks on Indian ground and has maintained that the latter is using these to distract the world from the human rights violations being carried out in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.