Pakistan PM blames India for stock exchange attack

Security officials secure the Pakistan Stock Exchange a day after terrorists attacked the building, in Karachi, on June 30, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday (June 30) blamed India for a deadly attack on the stock exchange in Karachi, saying there was "no doubt" who was responsible.

"Our security forces fought and thwarted a huge tragedy which was planned by our neighbouring country India," Mr Khan told parliament, without offering any evidence.

The home-grown Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for Monday's attack, in which three security guards and a policeman were killed - as well as the four assailants.

The BLA said it was targeting "Pakistan's economy", as well as "Chinese economic interests" in Balochistan".

"This plan, we have no doubt, was perpetrated by India," Mr Khan told parliament.

Pakistan has long blamed India for funding the Balochistan separatist movement and other groups. India, meanwhile, accuses Pakistan of supporting militants in the contested Kashmir region and elsewhere.

India did not directly respond to Mr Khan's comments, which came after the Pakistan foreign ministry Monday accused India of "complicity in acts of terrorism against Pakistan".

New Delhi said it rejected those "absurd comments".

"Pakistan cannot shift the blame on India for its domestic problems," an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said.

Mr Khan has come under increasing pressure over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a weak economy.

The former cricket star also drew criticism last week after he said former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been "martyred".

Opponents have long accused Mr Khan of being overly sympathetic to the militants, with rivals once dubbing him "Taliban Khan".

Pakistan and India have been at loggerheads since independence from Britain in 1947, primarily over the Muslim-majority Kashmir region that is claimed by both countries.

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