India must introspect: Pakistan

Pakistan has denied its role in the Pulwama terror attack, criticizing India for its security and intelligence failures.

Background

On 14 February 2019, a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The attack resulted in the death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and the attacker. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed. A local youth named Adil Ahmed Dar was identified as the attacker.

Analysis

Pakistan has denied its role in the Pulwama terror attack saying that the accusations were India’s tactics to put the blame on neighbours for its security and intelligence failures. Pakistan also said that the accusations were consistent with "well-rehearsed tactics from Indian playbook after such previous incidents".

"These knee-jerk and pre-conceived accusations were rejected also because they were made within a short time after the attack and without any investigations," Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan, tweeted. "India needs to introspect and respond to questions about its security and intelligence lapses that led to this attack."

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a recorded video message, claimed that India, without investigation, blamed Pakistan for the terror attack. "It is easy to blame Pakistan but it will not solve the problem and the world will not be convinced," he said in the message, "We know how to defend ourselves. We can also present our point of view across the world. Our message is peace and not conflict”.

"If India has any evidence (about the involvement of elements in Pakistan in the Pulwama attack), it should share with us. We will investigate with full honesty and see if it was right. And I say with full confidence that we will cooperate. Because we do not want disturbance," he said. Condemning the incident, Shah Mahmood Qureshi further said, "Violence neither was nor is our policy."

Assessment

Our assessment is that it would be prudent for both countries to follow the principle of examination, exploration & investigation in case of such an attack vector. India has responded by ramping up escalation with Pakistan on the political front.