–India’s high commissioner to Pakistan leaves for New Delhi for consultations
NEW DELHI: Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Friday summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood in the aftermath of a suicide bombing in occupied Kashmir while India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has been called to New Delhi for consultation over the incident.
Mahmood was “issued a very strong demarche in connection with the terrorist attack in Pulwama yesterday,” Reuters wire service quoted an Indian source as saying.
The move comes despite Pakistan strongly rejecting allegations by Indian government and media linking the suicide attack in occupied Kashmir –which killed at least 44 Indian security personnel – to Islamabad.
“We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement on Thursday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the country would give a ‘strong reply’ to those behind the Kashmir attack as New Delhi withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trade status given to Pakistan.
The attack outside Srinagar, reportedly claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant outfit, saw explosives packed inside a van rip through buses in a convoy of 78 vehicles, carrying some 2,500 members of the Indian force.
Two buses, with 35 people each, bore the brunt of the massive blast, heard miles away, around 20 kilometres from Srinagar on the main highway to Jammu.
The bombing was carried out at 3:15pm local time on a national highway near Lethpora village in Pulwama district. Dozens of others were wounded in the attack, who “have been removed to army hospital” CRPF Inspector General Zulfiqar Hassan told the media.
The convoy was bringing the troopers back from leave to rejoin active service. It was unclear whether the van containing the explosives was driven into the convoy or whether it was detonated when the buses were adjacent.
After the attack, hundreds of government forces cordoned around 15 villages in the district the bomber came from and started searching house-to-house.