- National Security Adviser says investigation points to Indian involvement
- Information minister Fawad Chaudhry says Pakistan has strong evidence of neighbouring country's involvement in terrorist activities inside Pakistan
Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf disclosed on Sunday that evidence gathered during the investigation of the blast in Lahore’s Johar Town last month clearly points to "Indian-sponsored terrorism."
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside Punjab police chief Inam Ghani and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, he said the mastermind of the attack "is an Indian citizen and he is associated with [Indian intelligence agency] RAW."
"The IG said we have the intelligence of foreign intelligence agency, so today without a doubt I want to say, [the circumstances] of this entire attack lead to Indian-sponsored terrorism," the NSA said.
"Through forensic analysis, electronic equipment which has been recovered from these terrorists, we have identified the main mastermind and the handlers of this terrorist attack and we have absolutely no doubt or reservation in informing you that the main mastermind belongs to RAW, the Indian intelligence agency, is an Indian national, and is based in India," he said.
Yusuf said that he would like to remind everyone that "Indian use of territory and people of third countries, which actually embarrasses other countries, is not new".
"We have been constantly reminding the world of Indian actions, including a detailed dossier that was put out last November with details — minute details — of finances, of action, of support coming from India," he said.
Drawing attention to the recent report by EU DisinfoLab, Yousaf said "hundreds and thousands of fake outlets were being used to malign Pakistan, to spread misinformation about Pakistan, and to hide what is actually a clear terrorist sponsorship by a state against another state in our region".
He reminded that Pakistan had presented a dossier last year regarding Indian-supported terrorism in Pakistan. "This event is another aspect of that process where our enemy continues to do this," he said.
He revealed that one of the main suspects of the attack, Eid Gul, was originally from Afghanistan and had lived in Pakistan. "This is that thing which we repeatedly say that Afghan refugees are our brothers and sisters but the time has come for their dignified return," he said.
"Pakistan will bring this international network in public view and India's real face will be exposed, as we have done before."
"I want to make sure our message is heard clearly that [in] this particular incident, we have concrete evidence and intelligence that point to direct Indian sponsorship of these terrorists," he emphasized.
"We have identified the main mastermind and the handlers of this terrorist attack and we have no doubt in informing you that the main mastermind belongs to RAW, lives in India and is an Indian citizen."
He further added that "there is also evidence of thousands of attempts of cyber-attacks against our critical investigative infrastructure right after this attack on the 23rd in Lahore".
"These attacks and the number and the sophistication in some cases leaves no doubt of state sponsorship and state linkage in this case."
Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Hussain Chaudhry said that the Indian establishment, as well as its government, was involved in nurturing and supporting terrorist networks inside Pakistan.
Chaudhry noted that "unfortunately, persistent terrorist incidents are being carried out in Pakistan, which time and again prove that Indian establishment and its government are fully supporting and sponsoring the terrorist network in Pakistan".
He said after the arrest of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, Pakistan has gotten strong evidence of India's involvement in terrorist activities inside Pakistan.
“I appreciate the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), and Punjab police for arresting the terrorists involved in the Johar Town Lahore blast within a short span of time.”
“On the successful operation against terrorists, I congratulate all the agencies and police,” he added.
Chaudhry said that Pakistan had fought a war against terrorists and rendered unmatched sacrifices which were acknowledged by the international community.
In a tweet after the press conference, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had directed his team to brief the nation on the findings of the Johar Town blast investigation.
"I appreciate the diligence and speed of Punjab Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department in unearthing the evidence and commend the excellent coordination of all our civil and military intelligence agencies," the premier wrote.
He said this coordination had led to identifying the terrorists and their international linkages.
"Again, planning and financing of this heinous terror attack has links to Indian sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan," he added, saying the global community must mobilize international institutions against this "rogue behaviour".
A few days ago, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that the blast in Lahore’s Johar Town that killed three people and injured 24 last week was carried out by a "hostile intelligence agency".
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Buzdar said all terrorists involved in the attack were arrested in the last four days.
"The Punjab government established an investigation team. I am satisfied to tell you that the investigation was started by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and the suspects were identified within 16 hours. In four days, the terrorists were arrested in raids in the country."