Wednesday, May 29, 2024

India conducted targeted killings in Pakistan, claims report

The Indian government assassinated individuals in Pakistan as part of ‘a wider strategy to eliminate terrorists living on foreign soil’, according to Indian and Pakistani intelligence operatives who spoke to the Guardian.

The Guardian report claims that the Indian government has killed up to 20 persons in Pakistan since 2020. The killings were carried out by unknown gunmen in Pakistan allegedly through the direct involvement of India’s foreign intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing.

“While India has previously been unofficially linked to the deaths, this is the first time Indian intelligence personnel have discussed the alleged operations in Pakistan, and detailed documentation has been seen alleging Raw’s direct involvement in the assassinations,” read the Guardian report.

The allegations also suggest that Sikh leaders in the Khalistan movement were targeted as part of these Indian foreign operations, both in Pakistan and the west.

The Indian foreign intelligence agency allegedly changed its strategy to assassinate potential threats after the 2019 Pulwama attack, which was carried out by the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, The Guardian reported quoted unidentified Indian officials as saying.

“After Pulwama, the approach changed to target the elements outside the country before they are able to launch an attack or create any disturbance,” an Indian intelligence operative told the Guardian. “We could not stop the attacks because ultimately their safe havens were in Pakistan, so we had to get to the source.”

Pakistani investigators alleged that these deaths were orchestrated by Indian intelligence sleeper-cells mostly operating out of the United Arab Emirates. Pakistani officials have accused these cells of paying millions of rupees to local criminals or poor Pakistanis to carry out the assassinations.

This was the case in the killing of Sikh leader in Pakistan, Paramjit Singh Panjwar, who was shot dead in Lahore in May, reported The Guardian.

The Sikh leader’s killing was before the United States and Canada made similar allegations against India. The United States has said that it foiled an alleged plot to assassinate Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil last year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had told his Parliament in September last year that his country’s intelligence agencies were pursuing “credible allegations” linking agents of the Indian government to the killing of another Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

In January this year, Islamabad had said that it had “credible evidence” linking “Indian agents” to the assassination of two of its nationals, Shahid Latif and Riyaz Ahmad. The two, associated with militant groups Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, were wanted terrorists in India.

India’s external affairs ministry has denied all the allegations made in the Guardian’s report.

The ministry reiterated an earlier statement against Pakistan’s allegations, saying that the claims were “false and malicious anti-India propaganda.”

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