FO says India’s assassination of a Canadian national on Canadian soil a clear violation of international law n Foreign Secretary says India’s terrorism in Canada is not a matter of surprise for Pakistan n New Delhi alerts Indian nationals to avoid travelling in Canada.
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s Foreign Office Wednesday said that the news of Indian involvement in an extrajudicial killing in Canada has shown that India’s network of extra-territorial killings has now gone global.
Responding to a question at her weekly media briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said for decades, Indian intelligence agency RAW has been actively involved in abductions and assassinations in South Asia.
She said Pakistan has remained a target of a series of targeted killings and espionage by RAW. In December last year, 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.
She said in 2016, a high-ranking Indian military officer Commander Kulbhushan Yadav confessed his involvement in directing, financing and executing terror and sabotage in Pakistan.
Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said India’s assassination of a Canadian national on Canadian soil is a clear violation of international law and the UN principle of state sovereignty.
She said it is also a reckless and irresponsible act that calls into question India’s reliability as a credible international partner and its claims for enhanced global responsibilities.
Replying to another question about statements of Indian civil and military leadership against Pakistan, she said Pakistan has the capacity and will to defend itself. It has done in the past and it will continue to do so.
Answering yet another question about post-floods situation in Libya, the Spokesperson said the situation in Libya is human catastrophe and a terrible tragedy on which people of Pakistan are deeply concerned.
She said we have expressed our sympathies with the people of Libya and are in contact with the International Committee of the Red Cross on how Pakistan can offer assistance to Libya in these difficult circumstances. The Spokesperson said Pakistan strongly condemns the recent storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by a group of extremists under the watch of Israeli occupation forces. Pakistan reiterates its call upon the international community to act in concert to bring an end to Israel’s escalatory practices in the interest of peace, security and stability in the Middle East and beyond.
The three key allies of Canada issued statements that indicated some support for Trudeau’s decision to go public with his concerns. The White House is “deeply concerned” about the allegations, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said, adding it was “critical that Canada’s investigations proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”
A spokesperson for Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the country is also “deeply concerned.”
“We understand these reports will be particularly concerning to some Australian communities,” a statement said. “The Indian diaspora are valued and important contributors to our vibrant and resilient multicultural society, where all Australians can peacefully and safely express their views.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the British prime minister said, “It’s right that the Canadian authorities are looking into (the matter), but I’m not going to get ahead of that work that needs to take place now.”
Kugelman said Canada would’ve “gone through a very extensive process” to investigate the allegations. “It counts on very close intelligence relationships with the US and the UK and Australia among others,” he said. Kugelman added it was “notable” that Canada is a member of the so-called Five Eyes, an intelligence pact that also includes the United States, Britain and Australia and New Zealand.
“Indeed, one would think that Canada would’ve had to undertake a significant, careful investigation before being willing and comfortable to make these allegations public,” he added.
‘PAKISTAN NOT SURPRISED’
Foreign Secretary Syrus Qazi has said that Pakistan was not “surprised” by Canada’s revelations that the Indian government was involved in the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June this year.
Qazi, who is accompanying caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on a five-day visit to the US to attend the 78th UNGA session, stated this during a media briefing at the Pakistan mission in UN on Wednesday. “India’s terrorism in Canada is not a matter of surprise for Pakistan,” the top diplomat remarked.
The foreign secretary said Pakistan did not find anything unusual in the Canadian PM’s allegations as Pakistan had arrested a serving Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Yadav — an operative of the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) from Balochistan in March 2016.
The Indian spy was later sentenced to death after he was found guilty of espionage and terror activities to destabilise Pakistan. On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a startling revelation about the Indian role in the Sikh leader’s killing during a speech at an emergency session of the assembly.
“Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said, addressing the House of Commons about an “extremely serious matter,” after informing the opposition party leaders.
Reacting to Canada’s revelations, the foreign secretary said: “What happened in Canada did not surprise us.” He added that there must be some truth to the allegations levelled by the Canadian PM. Referring to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the foreign secretary said the Indian spy was involved in activities to destabilise Pakistan.
“If anyone in the world is aware of Indian [activities], it is us [Pakistan],” he said. The top diplomat also said that New Delhi was committing state terrorism in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
‘EXERCISE UTMOST CAUTION’
On Wednesday, India’s foreign ministry said it issued the advisory “in view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada”.
The Indian government has often reacted sharply to demands by Sikh separatists in Western countries for Khalistan, or a separate Sikh homeland.
The Khalistan movement peaked in India in the 1980s with a violent insurgency centred in Sikh-majority Punjab state. It was quelled by force and has little resonance in India now, but is still popular among some in the Sikh diaspora in countries such as Canada, Australia and the UK.
Canada has the highest number of Sikhs outside Punjab and has seen several pro-Khalistan protests and demonstrations. In Wednesday’s statement, Delhi said that some recent threats were directed at its diplomats and some Indians “who oppose the anti-India agenda.”
“Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents,” it said.