ISLAMABAD: After over weeks long thorough investigation into the Lahore's Johar Town blast aiming at a 'high value target,' Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf on Sunday said the attack was planned by rogue Indian intelligence agency - Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Speaking at a presser along with Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Inspector General Police Punjab Inam Ghani, he said evidence gathered during the investigation of the blast clearly points to Indian-sponsored terrorism.
Yusuf who began in Urdu, also spoke in English at the end, to ensure that the international community has a clear idea of the findings and said: "I want to make sure that our message is heard very clearly regarding this particular incident on June 23 in Lahore. We've concrete evidence and intelligence including financial and telephone records that point to direct Indian sponsorship of these terrorists."
Through forensic analysis, electronic equipment which has been recovered from these terrorists, he added, 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.
Moeed said he would like to remind everyone that Indian use of territory and people of third countries, which actually embarrasses other countries, is not new, adding 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.
The drew attention to the recent report by EU DisinfoLab - an international reputed organisation, which provides a detailed account of how 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.
Yusuf said very unusually 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, adding these attacks and the number and the sophistication in some cases leaves no doubt of state sponsorship and state linkage in this case.
He said Pakistan's cyber security was strong enough to thwart the attempts but asked why the attacks took place, before going on to provide an answer.
"They were being conducted because our enemies wanted to buy time to deflect attention and to avoid the apprehending and capture of these terrorists that we managed to do," he added.
Yusuf also pointed out the drama of mysterious drones flying in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir territory.
"What was the logic, is now very clear, and again with confidence we can put it out, that was a deflection tactic trying to divert attention of the world from the fact and they knew at that time we had not only apprehended culprits but we knew exactly what had been done behind the scenes and who was behind it," he added.
The adviser said the main executor Eid Gul has an Afghan origin and was living in Pakistan.
He said Pakistan has constantly been flagging for the world the concern that millions of law abiding Afghan refugees are given a bad name and Pakistan is blamed when these actors go and hide in these refugee settlements and then Pakistan is questioned on why one or two or five people who were miscreants, who were terrorists could not be apprehended.
Yusuf said Pakistan reminds the world of their duty to find a way for a dignified return of Afghan refugees and then questions may be asked, adding till then, this is a very good example of the complication when something like this occurs.
Yusuf said Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed his team to use all possible legal and political means to get to the people outside Pakistan who are part of this international terrorist network.
"We'll, therefore be sharing all evidence with the international community and exposing the nefarious and real face of a state in our neighbourhood that has constantly sponsored terrorism against our innocent civilians," he added.
The adviser called upon the international community to play its part, saying it is high time it stop turning a blind eye and play a constructive and the legally binding role for the safety of innocent Pakistanis if they are really serious about peace and stability in the region.
Briefing the media earlier, IGP Punjab provided an account of the events leading up to the blast. He said that blast occurred at 11:09am on June 23 in Block E of Johar Town and a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) was used. As a result of the explosion, three citizens were killed and 22 were injured, including two policemen, while 12 cars and seven houses were also destroyed.
He said the police's Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) was immediately deployed to the site and it quickly cordoned off the area and established an operational base.
"'The CTD Punjab has long been working on counter terrorism and is at that stage of maturity where it can very quickly and capably connect the dots. As a result of this, not only did they unearth the entire plan by the terrorists within 16 hours of the incident, but also identified the names of all those involved," he added. He then proceeded to point to a chart which showed the terrorist network involved in the attack.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021