The Foreign Office on Wednesday said the news of India’s involvement in an extrajudicial killing in Canada had shown that the country’s “network of extra-territorial killings had now gone global”.
“India’s assassination of a Canadian national on the Canadian soil is a clear violation of international law and the UN principle of state sovereignty,” spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said at her weekly news briefing.The spokesperson was responding to a question on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement that he had “credible evidence” linking the Indian state to Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder must be based on “some facts.”
Nijjar, 45, was shot dead in his vehicle by two masked gunmen in the busy car park of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in British Columbia, a Canadian province.
The spokesperson said the incident was a “reckless and irresponsible act” that called into question India’s reliability as a credible international partner and its claims for enhanced global responsibilities. About India’s previous record, she said for decades, the Indian intelligence agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) had been actively involved in abductions and assassinations in South Asia.
Pakistan, she said, remained a target of a series of targeted killings and espionage by RAW. She recalled that in December 2022, 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.
In 2016, she said, a high-ranking Indian military officer Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav confessed his involvement in directing, financing, and executing terror and sabotage in Pakistan.
On India’s accusation linking Pakistan with the Anantnag encounter, she said Pakistan had been stating time and again that India had the “habit of implicating Pakistan in anything that happens under its watch, especially in IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir)”.
Asked about engagement with India at levels of the foreign ministries and Director General Military Operations (DGMOs), she said the main channel of communication between Pakistan and India, i.e., at the level of diplomatic missions had reduced its strength to charge d’affaires.
She mentioned that if functional, the DGMO-level also existed between the two countries.
To a question about the recent letter of Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar to the leader of the interim government of Afghanistan, she confirmed that the “routine” correspondence was made in response to Afghanistan’s congratulatory letter to the caretaker PM on assuming his office.
“These are diplomatic norms. Our PM’s letter was in that context – a positive message of friendship between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” she said. Baloch said diplomacy means talking to the counterpart whenever there are difficult issues. “For us, it is important that we continue to engage with Afghanistan to discuss all issues that are concerned to Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Syrus Qazi has said Pakistan was ‘not surprised’ by Canada’s allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of a Canadian Sikh leader, emphasising that Islamabad understands the nature and behaviour of its eastern neighbour.
He made the remarks during a news briefing held in New York on Tuesday evening, pointing to Pakistan’s own experiences with India, including the case of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Naval officer who entered Pakistan clandestinely. Jadhav had confessed to his espionage activities in Pakistan. Qazi emphasised, “Based on our experience with India, we are not surprised by the allegations made by the Canadian PM.”
Qazi added that Pakistan was well-acquainted with India, having dealt with them for over seven decades. He recalled Pakistan’s response to India’s incursion in February 2019 and asserted that Pakistan would defend its independence again if necessary.
“Whenever there is instability in Pakistan, India often had a hand in it,” Qazi claimed, highlighting the need for the international community to understand India’s behaviour on the global stage.