India, Pakistan Trade Barbs over Parliament Attack ; India Yesterday Claimed Pakistani Intelligence Knew of Plans for Dec. 13 Attack, as War of Words Escalates

By Matthew, Liz | The Christian Science Monitor, December 17, 2001 | Go to article overview

India, Pakistan Trade Barbs over Parliament Attack ; India Yesterday Claimed Pakistani Intelligence Knew of Plans for Dec. 13 Attack, as War of Words Escalates


Matthew, Liz, The Christian Science Monitor


The rhetoric between nuclear-armed archrivals India and Pakistan is heating up once again in the wake of a deadly assault last week on the Indian Parliament.

New Delhi is demanding that Islamabad take action against two Islamic militant groups fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir, which it considers responsible for the attack.In addition, Delhi Police Commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma said yesterday that police had evidence the Interservices Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's intelligence agency, had "full knowledge of the conspiracy."

Pakistan's government has denied any involvement in what it condemns as a "terrorist" attack.

When five terrorists breached the security cordon around Parliament House Dec. 13, firing AK-47 rifles and hurling grenades, India's entire political leadership was still inside the building.

In the ensuing gun battle, the five terrorists, six Delhi police, and two Parliament employees were killed.

"The attack was a hit against the state at one of its most sensitive points. It is a heavy blow to [the] Indian state and its democracy," says Salman Haider, a former foreign secretary.

Saying it has credible evidence that the Pakistan-based Lashkar- e-Tayiba carried out the assault, India's government formally asked Islamabad to arrest the group's leadership and that of another militant outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and to freeze both organizations' assets.

While rejecting India's demand, Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf warned of retaliation against any Indian "misadventurism." Mr. Musharraf later said he would take action, however, if India could provide evidence of either group's involvement.

Mr. Sharma, the Delhi police commissioner, yesterday said a man detained in the attack has admitted that he was trained at an ISI camp in Muzzafarabad in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

As the war of words between the two South Asian powerhouses mounts, experts say it is getting more and more difficult for the two countries to engage in talks.

"The incident on Dec. 13 has put the chances of a dialogue further away," says Mr.

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India, Pakistan Trade Barbs over Parliament Attack ; India Yesterday Claimed Pakistani Intelligence Knew of Plans for Dec. 13 Attack, as War of Words Escalates
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