ISLAMABAD – Islamabad yesterday formally asked Iran to check anti-Pakistan activities and act against India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) network.
The development came after the arrest of RAW agent Kulbhushan Yadav, who was caught from Balochistan. A number of other RAW operatives have since been nabbed.
Military spokesman Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa said the issue was also discussed when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met Army Chief Raheel Sharif during his recent visit.
President Rouhani however, denied the reports but diplomatic sources said the issue was discussed and Iran was asked to support Pakistan in stopping RAW from subversive activities in Pakistan.
Diplomatic sources told, that the army chief did take up the RAW issue with President Rouhani but “it was not supposed to be shared with the media.”
Yesterday, Pakistan handed a two-page reference to Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost here urging the neighbour to check anti-Pakistan activities and RAW network.
Pakistan also demanded immediate arrest of Yadav’s accomplice Rakesh Kumar alias Rizwan believed to be hiding in Iran. There were reports Yadav ran a terror network in Pakistan and had set a jewellery shop in Iranian city of Chabahar as a cover-up.
Islamabad sought record of Yadav’s activities including details of his business and meetings in Iran in addition to other information.
Yadav earlier confessed he was a serving naval officer and had joined the intelligence services in 2003 and ran a spy operation in Balochistan from Iran with the target to instigate terrorism.
Yadav, from Mumbai, said he had joined India’s National Defence Academy in 1987 before going to join the Indian Navy in 1991.
The reference says Iran’s cooperation on the issue will not only strengthen brotherly relations between the two countries, but also reduce terrorist incidents and unrest in the region.
It says the activities by state-sponsored actors, using Iranian territory could undermine the existing peaceful environment prevailing on Pak-Iran border.
The Iranian embassy also responded to reports that Iranian soil was used by RAW against Pakistan. A statement issued by the embassy said, “During the past few days, some sections of Pakistani media have spread contents regarding detention of an Indian agent and the matter related to it, which could have negative implications on the fraternal and friendly atmosphere of Iran and Pakistan”.
The embassy spokesman said, “The spreading of such remarks and news items were product of thinking which does not like further expansion of ties between the two countries.”
He added, “Elements unhappy over promotion of ties between the two Islamic countries of Iran and Pakistan are trying in various ways, including the spreading of undignified and sometimes offensive contents, to fade out the significant achievements during the visit of President Rouhani to Pakistan. Iran wants a stable Pakistan. Iran has never felt danger from Pakistan at its border.”
Also yesterday, Pakistan said Islamabad had appraised the world’s major countries and fora about arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav in Balochistan.
Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at a weekly news briefing here that Pakistan had decided to make contacts with international community regarding Indian intrusion.
He said the issue had been raised with the United Nations and the European Union, adding the Pakistani ambassadors in major countries of the world have been directed to highlight this issue with respective governments.
“Pakistan had provided the UN with the evidence of Indian interference and terror activities,” he added.
Zakaria said the entire world itself had seen the confessional statement of the RAW agent. He said Iran had held out assurance that it would not allow its territory to be used against Pakistan.
To a question, he said the matter of RAW funding to Muttahida Qaumi Movement was being looked into by interior ministry.
The spokesman said Indian request for consular access to Yadav was under consideration. He said the government was in contact with Tehran on RAW activities from its soil against Pakistan.
Nafees Zakaria said the government will be able to comment on the level of Indian cooperation with Pakistan’s joint investigation team probing Pathankot terror attack after the team returns home.
He said modalities were being worked out for resumption of Pak-India foreign-secretary level talks.
The spokesman reiterated the government’s resolve to bring perpetrators of Lahore terror attack to justice and continue efforts to eliminate terrorism.
To a question, Nafees Zakaria said Afghanistan’s ‘baseless allegations’ against Pakistan will only strengthen terrorists. He said regional cooperation was crucial for restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
In Sindh, the Pakistan People’s Party-led provincial government yesterday directed law enforcers to expedite action against RAW agents.
Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, at a meeting in Karachi, directed the law enforcement agencies to hunt for suspected RAW agents and break their network