Pakistan has ‘credible evidence’ of India links to killings of 2 Pakistanis

Pakistan says the method of the killings was similar to cases in Canada and the United States.

Pakistan has accused India of being behind the shootings deaths of two Pakistani men last year in Pakistan [File: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]Published On 25 Jan 202425 Jan 2024

Pakistan says it has “credible evidence” that links Indian agents to the killings of two Pakistani citizens on Pakistani soil.

“These are killings-for-hire cases involving a sophisticated international set-up spread over multiple jurisdictions,” Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Qazi told reporters on Thursday.

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Qazi identified the two men killed as Shahid Latif and Muhammad Riaz, who were shot dead in separate incidents last year.

Riaz was killed during morning prayers in a mosque in Rawalakot in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in September, he said.

Latif was killed outside a mosque in the city of Sialkot in Punjab in October.

Qazi said the method of the killings was similar to cases in Canada and the United States.

Last year, Canada and the US separately accused Indian agents of being linked to one assassination and one attempt in their countries.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs rejected the allegations, which it described as “false and malicious” in a post on X.

Last year, tensions between Canada and India rose significantly after the killing of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly linked Indian intelligence agencies to the death of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an allegation that New Delhi called “absurd”.

Nijjar, an advocate for a separate Sikh state in India, was wanted by Indian authorities for alleged “terrorism” and conspiracy to commit murder.

In the US, an Indian national was charged with plotting to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader on US soil, the US Department of Justice said in November.

Murder-for-hire charges were filed against Nikhil Gupta, 52, “in connection with his participating in a foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen” of Indian origin in New York City, it said in a statement.

The man was targeted for allegedly being “a vocal critic of the Indian government and leads a US-based organisation that advocates for the secession of Punjab”, the department said.

A sign asking for an investigation into India’s role in the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar is seen at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada [File: Chris Helgren/Reuters]

In an interview with The Financial Times in December, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government would investigate any evidence connected to the plot to kill a US citizen.

“If someone gives us any information, we would definitely look into it,” he said.

“If a citizen of ours has done anything good or bad, we are ready to look into it. Our commitment is to the rule of law.”

After his comments, Trudeau said the US indictment had softened India’s stance towards Canada.

“I think there is a beginning of an understanding that they can’t bluster their way through this, and there is an openness to collaborating in a way that perhaps they were less open before,” he said.

“There’s an understanding that maybe, maybe just churning out attacks against Canada isn’t going to make this problem go away.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies