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23 Apr, 2019 08:58

Pakistani FM claims India is behind terrorist groups in Balochistan province

Pakistani FM claims India is behind terrorist groups in Balochistan province

New Delhi sponsors terrorism in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, the nation’s foreign minister claims, in line with a long history of the two states trading accusations of using militant groups against each other.

India is involved in the terrorist attacks in Balochistan, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi told local media on Tuesday, adding that terrorists use the territories of Iran and Afghanistan to conduct raids against the country. The reports didn’t specify whether the minister provided any evidence of these allegations.

Officials in New Delhi, meanwhile, have been accusing Islamabad of having “a direct hand” in terrorist attacks on Indian soil and of “inaction” when it comes to combating Pakistan-based militants. The tension in the region escalated dramatically in February after India ordered an airstrike against Pakistan. The flare-up then led to cross-border shelling and open air combat between the neighbors.

India said that it was targeting the training camps of militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 40 policemen in Pulwama on the Indian-controlled part of disputed Kashmir. Indian intelligence services passed a “detailed dossier” to Pakistan, reportedly containing the evidence of extensive JeM presence on its territory.

Pakistan arrested several dozen suspected militants in March, including close relatives of JeM’s leader, but dismissed the Indian-provided dossier as mostly based on “social media content.” India’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying that Islamabad “continues to be in denial” by failing to admit the link between JeM and the Pulwama bombing.

Islamabad continues to face problems in its southwestern Balochistan province, bordering Afghanistan. Several terrorist and insurgency groups operate there. Last week, gunmen stopped several buses near the remote town of Ormara and killed 14 passengers, who were mostly military personnel. On April 12, a bomb went off at an open market in Quetta, also in Balochistan, killing 21 civilians.

Pakistan blamed the Ormara attack on the insurgency group Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS). The officials claimed the militants were operating from Iran and accused Tehran of “inaction” against terrorists. Iran condemned the killing of Pakistani servicemen and agreed to create a joint border “reaction force,” after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday.

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