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Pakistan Alleges India Plotted Recent Bombing; No Comment From Delhi

FILE - Investigators collect evidence at the site of an explosion, in Lahore, Pakistan, June 23, 2021.

Pakistan said Sunday it had “concrete evidence and intelligence” linking rival India to a car bombing that killed three people and injured 22 others last month in the eastern city of Lahore.

National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf said a high-profile investigation has identified the “main mastermind and the handlers” of the June 23 “terrorist” attack. He spoke in Islamabad at a news conference, where he was joined by other senior officials.

“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,” Yusuf said.

Without naming the suspect, the adviser said the man lives in India and works for that country’s spy agency.

Indian authorities have not responded to Pakistan’s allegations.

The police chief of Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, said 12 suspects linked to the bombing have been arrested.

Inam Ghani told reporters the suspects included an Afghan who lived in Pakistan as a refugee and drove the explosives-laden car to the site of the blast before detonating it with a remote-controlled device.

Yusuf said investigators had also collected evidence of "thousands of attempts of cyberattacks” by Indian operatives against Pakistan’s “critical investigative infrastructure” right after the Lahore attack.

“These attacks, and the number, and in the sophistication in some cases, leaves no doubt of state sponsorship and state linkage in this case,” he said.

Yusuf added the cyberattacks were being conducted to buy time to deflect attention and to avoid “the apprehending and capture of these terrorists that we managed to do.”

The adviser said Islamabad will share the evidence with relevant global watchdogs in its bid to expose India’s sponsorship of terrorist attacks against Pakistan.

The Lahore blast took place not far from the residence of anti-India militant leader Hafiz Saeed, whom the United States has designated as a global terrorist in connection with the 2008 coordinated attacks in Mumbai that killed nearly 170 people, including several U.S. citizens.

Washington has a $10 million bounty on Saeed’s head. The cleric has been convicted by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in connection with terror funding charges in three different cases and is serving about 15 years prison sentence. Authorities have declared Saeed’s residence a de facto prison and kept him there, citing security reasons.

New Delhi says Saeed masterminded the Mumbai carnage, charges the cleric rejects.

Pakistan and India routinely accuse the other of plotting terrorism on their respective territories. The nuclear-armed South Asian rival nations have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed Kashmir region, the main source of bilateral tension. Both claim Kashmir in its entirety.