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'Arrest of Indians in Pakistan a complete hogwash'

December 26, 2008 23:08 IST

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India on Friday dubbed as 'hogwash' the arrest of purported Indian nationals in connection with the Lahore [Images] bomb blast and advised its citizens to avoid travel to the neighbouring country.

"It is hogwash and meant to confuse people," Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma told reporters, when asked to comment on reports in the Pakistani media, on the arrest of Indian nationals on allegations of being terrorists.

Sharma also termed as 'unwarranted and a figment of imagination' the talk of India declaring war against Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks [Images].

 "Such talk is aimed to mislead and distract world opinion. Pakistan must act against the perpetrators, conspirators, abettors who have been named and identified as Pakistani citizens," he said.

Stressing that the real issue is terror outfits operating from the territory of Pakistan, Sharma said, "Sincerity of action would have been to dismantle that infrastructure of training and supporting these terrorist outfits."

On non-state actors being responsible for attacks, Sharma said such persons belong to a state and authorities are expected to take action against them.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs has advised Indians against visiting Pakistan, where some agencies seem to operate outside government control.

"Since it has also been reported in the Pakistani media that the senior police officer in Lahore was unaware of the arrest in his city, it seems that this is the work of other agencies in Pakistan that operate outside the law and civilian control," MEA spokesman Vishnu [Images] Prakash said.

Noting that Pakistan has given assurances on combating terror emanating from its soil on 'several occasions', Sharma said "this is not the time for words which are meaningless."

Instead of acting against those organisations which have been named clearly by the United Nations Security Council,
Pakistan is spreading canards about India planning to launch military action against it, Sharma said.

"India is a responsible democracy and we have acted throughout with remarkable restraint and maturity," he said.

The civilian and military leadership in Pakistan has been asserting that they would meet unitedly any challenge mounted by India. The Pakistani Air Force had even sent fighter planes scrambling over some of the major Pakistani cities, prompting the media there to speculate about war being waged by India.

On Thursday, media reports in Pakistan claimed that Indian nationals Satish Anand Shukla, Ram Kumar, Ram Chandar and Prakash were arrested in connection with a bomb blast in Lahore two days ago.

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