India on Friday summoned Pakistan’s envoy and lodged an official protest over the deaths of at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in a suicide bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on Thursday, PTI reported. The Jaish-e-Mohammed extremist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Sohail Mahmood on Friday. Gokhale told the Pakistan high commissioner that Islamabad must take “immediate and verifiable” steps against Jaish-e-Mohammed, and “must immediately stop groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories, ANI reported citing sources.
Gokhale also rejected the Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s statement issued on Thursday. Pakistan had condemned the attack, but rejected any involvement in it. “We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, New Delhi had decided to withdraw the Most Favoured Nation status India had granted to Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the sacrifices of the soldiers will not go in vain, and told an audience in New Delhi that the security forces have been given a free hand to respond to the attack.