Pakistan links India to global network of contract killings

Pakistan has accused India of orchestrating a series of assassinations of its nationals on Pakistani soil, saying that the incidents are part of a global network of contract killings by Indian intelligence agents.

Pakistan accused India on Thursday of being behind a series of killings of its nationals on Pakistani territory, saying that the incidents resembled similar cases that have happened in other countries, such as the United States and Canada.

At a press briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Qazi said that his government had gathered “reliable evidence” that linked Indian intelligence agents to the deaths of two Pakistani men in September and October of the previous year.

“These were contract killings that involved a complex international network that spanned multiple jurisdictions. Indian operatives used technology and foreign safe havens to carry out assassinations in Pakistan,” Qazi said.

“They matched the pattern of comparable cases, which have been exposed in other countries, including Canada and the United States. It is evident that the Indian scheme of unlawful and cross-border killings has become a worldwide phenomenon,” the Pakistani official claimed.

Qazi named the murdered Pakistani men as Shahid Latif and Muhammad Riaz, and said that probes were also ongoing into several other deaths in recent months to ascertain if Indian agents were also involved in them.

Recent Indian media reports have stated that Riaz and Latif were sought by New Delhi for their involvement in planning “terrorist” attacks against India and its controlled part of the contested Kashmir region.

The Indian foreign ministry spokesperson, in a statement, promptly dismissed Thursday’s accusations by Islamabad as “false and malicious” propaganda against India.

“As the world is aware, Pakistan has long been the hub of terrorism, organized crime, and illicit cross-border activities,” said Randhir Jaiswal.

“India and many other countries have openly cautioned Pakistan, warning that it would be engulfed by its own culture of terror and violence … To fault others for its own wrongdoings can neither be a rationale nor a solution,” Jaiswal said.

The Pakistani accusations came almost two months after U.S. federal prosecutors in late November charged a man, who claimed to be a “senior field officer” for an Indian intelligence agency, of masterminding a thwarted assassination attempt against an American citizen, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the leader of the Sikh separatist movement in India.

Last September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told an urgent parliamentary session that his government had “credible allegations” that linked Indian agents to the killing of exiled Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia last June.

New Delhi has denied Trudeau’s allegations and has initiated an investigation into U.S. allegations.

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