In recent developments, the tension between India and Pakistan has escalated with allegations of targeted killings on Pakistani soil. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Cyrus Sajjad Qazi, has accused Indian agents of orchestrating the murders of two Pakistani citizens, Mohammad Riaz and Shahid Latif, in 2023. This article delves into the details of these accusations, the evidence presented, and the broader implications for international relations and security.
On September 8, 2023, in Rawalakot, Mohammad Riaz was tragically killed, followed by the killing of Shahid Latif on October 11, 2023, in Sialkot. According to Cyrus Sajjad Qazi, these were not isolated incidents but part of a coordinated campaign by Indian agents operating in Pakistan. The Foreign Secretary identified Indian nationals Yogesh Kumar and Ashok Kumar as key figures in these operations, with Yogesh Kumar alleged to be the mastermind behind Shahid Latif’s murder.
Pakistani authorities claim to have substantial evidence, including confessional statements from Indian agents presently in custody. The suspects were reportedly captured based on solid evidence, linking them directly to acts of terrorism and targeted killings in Pakistan. The alleged involvement of foreign financial transactions in these operations has further complicated the situation. One of the accused, Abdullah Ali, was apprehended at an airport while attempting to flee the country. He reportedly confessed to killing Mohammad Riaz, acting on instructions from Ashok Kumar.
The operation to capture Shahid Latif’s killer, Umeer, and his team also points to a meticulous and well-planned strategy, further implicating Indian agents.
The Foreign Secretary’s statement also mentioned similar cases in Canada and America, suggesting an international dimension to these activities. This global aspect of the operations raises questions about the reach and influence of the agents involved. The Foreign Office of Pakistan has directly implicated the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, in these incidents. Describing RAW as functioning like a global terrorist organization, the Pakistani authorities allege that it is not just involved in planning but also funding and directing these operations. The involvement of Indian nationals in third countries in the targeted killing campaign is seen as part of a broader strategy by India.
The accusations have significant implications for international relations and regional security. These operations represent a serious violation of international law and Pakistan’s sovereignty. The involvement of Indian agents in targeted killings on foreign soil could escalate tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, already strained by decades of conflict and mistrust. Pakistan’s decision to publicize these incidents and the evidence they have gathered is a clear message to the international community.
They are seeking to hold India accountable at a global level, asserting that such acts of cross-border terrorism cannot be tolerated.
These incidents challenge the global efforts against terrorism. The involvement of a state’s intelligence agency in orchestrating targeted killings in another sovereign nation raises serious questions about the commitment of states to international counter-terrorism norms. It could prompt a reevaluation of global anti-terrorism strategies, particularly about state-sponsored terrorism. India and Pakistan are both nuclear-armed states, and any escalation of conflict or tension between them raises fears of a nuclear confrontation. The international community has long been concerned about the region’s stability, and these developments could trigger a fresh wave of international diplomatic intervention to prevent further escalation. The ongoing conflict and such incidents negatively impact both countries economically and socially. Resources that could be used for development are diverted to defense and security.
Furthermore, such incidents exacerbate mutual distrust, affecting people-to-people relations and hindering any prospects for long-term peace and cooperation in the region.
Despite releasing some details, Pakistani authorities have indicated that there are other cases still under investigation. The possibility of further operations involving Indian agents remains a significant concern for Pakistan’s national security apparatus.
The allegations made by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Cyrus Sajjad Qazi against Indian agents mark a concerning development in the already complex relationship between India and Pakistan. If substantiated, the evidence presented, including confessional statements and financial transactions, could have far-reaching consequences for regional stability and international counterterrorism efforts. As investigations continue, the international community will closely watch the developments, hoping for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to these serious allegations.
Batool Akhtar is a Research Associate located in Islamabad. The author’s primary emphasis is on current Geopolitical topics.