Tensions over an attack that killed dozens in Kashmir last have prompted Indian officials to order Pakistani nationals out of Rajasthani within 48 hours.
Forty-four Indian military personnel were killed in the suicide bombing in the Kashmir region of India last Thursday. It was the deadliest attack in 30 years. The bombing was blamed on Pakistani-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, but some Indian officials have said the Pakistani government had a hand in it.
On Monday, Indian security forces killed three JeM terrorists after a 20-hour firefight in Pulwama. It’s believed the mastermind of the bombing, Abdul Rashid Gazi, was among the dead.
Pakistani nationals were told to leave Rajasthani, and hotels and lodges there are prohibited from accepting any Pakistanis. Also, Indians can no longer employ any Pakistani citizens or have direct business relationships with them. The order applies for two months.
India has not ruled out military action against Pakistan.
“At this time, the hopes the country has to respond are natural. Our security forces have been given full freedom. We have complete confidence in the courage and bravery of our soldiers,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Friday.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has offered assistance and denied allegations that his government was involved.
“Firstly, you blamed us, without thinking, without any proof,” Khan said Tuesday. “Why would we do such an act that would hurt us? We have fought a war, lost 70,000 people in a war on terror, now we are moving towards peace, why would we do this? I want to offer the Indian government, whatever investigations you want done, we are ready. If you have any actionable intelligence, we will take action.”
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi appealed to the United Nations to intervene.
“It is with a sense of urgency that I draw your attention to the deteriorating security situation in our region resulting from the threat of use of force against Pakistan by India,” Qureshi said.
He added that blaming Pakistan for the attack before investigating was absurd.
The bus was part of a larger military convoy with thousands of troops returning from leave.
Image: Family members pray at the coffin of a slain solider Monday in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir. Photo by Farooq Khan/EPA-EFE