The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday alleged that Pakistan was continuing to provide shelter to Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, who has been named as an accused in the Pulwama terror attack by the National Investigation Agency. Azhar is also wanted in India for several other attacks, including the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
The foreign ministry’s statement came two days after the NIA filed a chargesheet in the 2019 Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed after an explosive-laden car driven by a suicide bomber rammed into their bus in Jammu and Kashmir. The 13,800-page chargesheet named 19 people, including Azhar and his brother Rauf Asghar.
“Jaish-e-Mohammad had claimed the responsibility of Pulwama attack,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a press briefing. “The organisation and its leadership is in Pakistan. It is regrettable that Masood Azhar, the first accused in the [NIA] chargesheet, continues to find shelter in Pakistan. We have shared enough evidence with Pakistan but it continues to evade responsibility.”
“The charge sheet [in the Pulwama terror attack] has been filed after investigation of a year and half since the attack took place on 14th February 2019,” Srivastava added. “It [the chargesheet] has been filed to address the act of terrorism and to bring perpetrators of such a heinous crime to justice. Our aim is not to simply issue statements or notifications.”
The foreign ministry spokesperson also accused Pakistan of not taking action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. He alleged that Pakistan had not made any efforts to check terrorism despite international pressure and referred to the country’s U-turn on Dawood Ibrahim’s presence.
Last month, global terror-financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force had decided to keep Pakistan in the “grey list” for failing to check the flow of funds to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Pakistan was put on FATF’s “grey list” in 2018 and given a 27-point Action Plan to implement in order to be taken off of it.
In October 2019, the watchdog indicted Pakistan for failing to deliver on 22 out of 27 targets. The task force also warned Pakistan that it would be blacklisted if it failed to achieve the targets by February 2020.
India, which is a member of the global organisation, has repeatedly asked Pakistan to take necessary steps to meet international standards in stopping financial crimes.