The central government today welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's admission that terrorists from his country were carrying out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, but said that he should now take the next step and act against them.
"Since the Pakistan Prime Minister has acknowledged the presence of training camps and the fact that terrorists are being trained and sent to Kashmir to fight, it's time for them to take credible action against terror camps that exist in the areas under his government's control," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar at a press briefing, terming Mr Khan's statement as a "glaring admission" by Islamabad.
During a talk at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Tuesday, Mr Khan had admitted that 30,000-40,000 terrorists were actively working against India on Pakistani territory. However, he insisted that his government was currently in the process of "disarming" them. "It is normally said that the security forces patronise (terror) groups. We would not be disarming if the security forces were not standing behind us. The terror groups are trained, and their members have experience of fighting in Afghanistan, some in Kashmir. As the police cannot go after them, the army is helping us disarm all militant groups in the country," he said in what was seen as a defence of the country's powerful military.
Mr Khan also claimed that Pakistan's armed forces have firmly supported him on every "pro-peace decision" he has taken on India since assuming power. "Even when I decided to release the Indian pilot who had been shot down by Pakistan, the army was right behind me," he said. "So today, as we speak, there is no difference between the policies of the Pakistan security forces and Pakistan's democratic government."
However, the extent of his government's resolve to crack down on terrorism still remains under question. When United States Institute of Peace president Nancy Lindborg asked Mr Khan yesterday if Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Hafiz Saeed would be let off again, he deftly dodged the question with a sarcastic observation on judicial independence. "First we want an independent justice system, and then you want me to predict when the justice system will do," he said.
Hafiz Saeed, who is accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as well as the recent strike on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, was recently arrested on charges of terror financing.
Raveesh Kumar also said during the press meet that New Delhi is in touch with Islamabad through diplomatic channels to demand consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a retired Navy official who is languishing in a Pakistani prison on charges of espionage.