ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi on Thursday said that the government and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) had “credible evidence” of links between Indian agents and the assassination of two Pakistani nationals in Sialkot and Rawalakot.
In a media briefing held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, the foreign secretary said that the assassinations of Shahid Latif in Sialkot and Mohammad Riaz in Rawalakot were orchestrated by Indian agents Yogesh Kumar and Ashok Kumar Anand.
🔴LIVE: Media Briefing by Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi https://t.co/cIeQ1Y6BNl
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) January 25, 2024
The following the full media briefing by the Foreign Secretary on India’s Extra-Judicial and Extra-Territorial Killings in Pakistan;
“Today we will present details of a sophisticated and sinister Indian campaign of extra-territorial and extra-judicial killings inside Pakistan. We have credible evidence of links between Indian agents and assassination of two Pakistani nationals on Pakistani soil.
These were killings-for-hire cases involving a sophisticated international setup spread over multiple jurisdictions. Indian agents used technology and safe havens on foreign soil to commit assassinations in Pakistan. They recruited, financed and supported criminals, terrorists and unsuspecting civilians to play defined roles in these assassinations.
Indian media and social media accounts immediately claimed and glorified these killings as successful retribution against “enemies” of India and projected their capacity to carry out these illegal acts. Potential assassins were recruited, using social media, talent spotters and fake Da’esh accounts.
There was complete compartmentalization of the various components of the operation with employment of teams of financiers, locators, and assassins. Elaborate exit plans were developed to obscure all potential tracks. At this stage, we are sharing information on two cases. A few other similar cases are under investigation and will be revealed in due course.
First case is that of the assassination of Shahid Latif. On 11 October 2023, a group of criminals assassinated Shahid Latif outside a mosque in the city of Sialkot. A detailed investigation revealed that an Indian agent, Yogesh Kumar, based in a third country orchestrated the assassination through criminals and terrorists.Yogesh Kumar recruited Muhammad Umair, a labourer in that third country to act as a contact with local criminals in Pakistan to trace and assassinate Shahid Latif. The recruited local criminals were able to locate and trace Shahid Latif. However, the killers-for-hire were unable to carry out the execution.
After some failed attempts, Muhammad Umair was personally sent to Pakistan to carry out the assassination. Muhammad Umair organized a team of five target killers which after first failed attempt on 9 October 2023, succeeded in assassinating Shahid Latif on 11 October 2023.
Based on confessional statements and technical evidence, law enforcement authorities quickly apprehended the target killers, including Muhammad Umair, who was trying to flee the country on 12 October 2023. All those involved in reconnaissance and killing has been apprehended and is being tried in a court of law. We have evidence of transactions made in the process linking the entire chain to Indian agent Yogesh Kumar.
Second case is that of the assassination of Muhammad Riaz. Another Indian agent was involved in killing of another Pakistani national Muhammad Riaz, who was assassinated during Fajr prayer, in a mosque in Rawalakot on 8 September 2023. Law enforcement agencies tracked the killer Muhammad Abdullah Ali and apprehended him on 15 September 2023 while boarding a flight at Jinnah International Airport Karachi.
Interrogation revealed that Muhammad Abdullah Ali was recruited and guided by Indian agents Ashok Kumar Anand and Yogesh Kumar. Indian agents utilised social media app Telegram to recruit Muhammad Abdullah Ali, who was asked to locate Muhammad Riaz.
Muhammad Abdullah Ali received payments through middlemen based in a third country. He was also provided with weapons and ammunition. After a failed attempt on 7 September 2023, Muhammad Abdullah Ali succeeded in killing Muhammad Riaz on 8 September 2023.
The law enforcement authorities apprehended Muhammad Abdullah Ali and his supporters and facilitators from various cities of Pakistan. The case is being tried in a court of law. Based on confessional statements of Muhammad Abdullah Ali and technical evidence, the investigators quickly identified the facilitators in Pakistan as well as in third countries.
We have documentary, financial and forensic evidence of the involvement of the two Indian agents, who masterminded these assassinations. We are releasing the passport details of Yogesh Kumar and Ashok Kumar. We have also reached out to the governments of relevant third counties. And as I said earlier, there are a few other cases of similar gravity at various stages of investigation.
The conclusions one is forced to draw from these developments are as follows:-
- These cases reveal growing sophistication and brazenness of Indian sponsored terrorist acts inside Pakistan.
- They fit the pattern of similar cases which have come to light in other countries including Canada and the United States. Clearly the Indian network of extra-judicial and extra-territorial killings has become a global phenomenon.
- Pakistan has remained a target of extra-judicial killings for some time now. We are now witnessing an increased sophistication in these operations as revealed in these two cases.
- It is critical to bring to justice the killers, their facilitators and financers involved in these assassinations. Indian agents need to face justice for its extra-judicial and extra- territorial killings in Pakistan and other countries.
- India’s assassination of Pakistan nationals on Pakistani soil is violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and a breach of the UN Charter. This violation of Pakistan sovereignty by India is completely unacceptable.
- India must be held accountable internationally for its blatant violation of international law.
- Pakistan remains committed to protecting its people and securing its sovereignty. Protection of Pakistanis and any foreign national on Pakistani soil is a high priority for the Government of Pakistan.
- India’s reckless and irresponsible act calls into question India’s reliability as a credible international player and its claims for enhanced global responsibilities.”