Pakistan Offers to Investigate Deadly Suicide Bombing in Kashmir

Pakistan Offers to Investigate Deadly Suicide Bombing in Kashmir

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan offered on Tuesday to investigate allegations by New Delhi that a Pakistan-based militant group was behind a deadly suicide attack on Indian troops in Kashmir, but he warned that his country would retaliate against any Indian military action.

Mr. Khan’s comments were the first formal response by the Pakistani leader since the bombing on Thursday, the worst in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir in 30 years. Jaish-e-Muhammad, or the Army of Muhammad, a Pakistan-based militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack. Tensions have since risen sharply between India and Pakistan, and both countries have recalled their ambassadors for consultations.

In his statement, Mr. Khan said he had been focused on a visit by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for a two-day visit that has led to pledges of $20 billion of investment from Saudi Arabia.

Referring to the attack in Kashmir, Mr. Khan said, “Why would Pakistan, at this stage, indulge when it is moving toward stability? We have fought a war against terrorism for 15 years, thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives, terrorism is receding, peace and stability are returning ─ what benefit would we get from such an attack?”

“Today, I would like to make the Indian government an offer,” he added. “Any sort of investigation you wish carried out regarding this incident about the involvement of any Pakistani, we are ready.”

But Mr. Khan also warned against any attack on his country, saying: “Pakistan will not just think about retaliating, we will retaliate. There will be no way to respond other than to retaliate.”

India, which has blamed Pakistan for the suicide bombing and has vowed to respond, seemed to be little reassured by Mr. Khan’s assertions.

The Indian Foreign Ministry said that it was “a well-known fact” that the militant group that carried out the attack last week was based in Pakistan, and it demanded “visible action against the perpetrators.”

“The prime minister of Pakistan has offered to investigate the matter if India provides proof,” the ministry said. “This is a lame excuse.”

The Indian statement called Pakistan “the nerve center of terrorism” and said that “India’s democracy is a model for the world, which Pakistan would never understand.”

The militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad is officially banned in Pakistan, but Indian and American officials say it still operates there under different names.

Indian Army officials said on Tuesday that they had “wiped out” the group’s leadership in a gun battle in Kashmir on Monday that left at least four Indian soldiers dead.

Witnesses said that at least two militants who had been hiding in a house were killed, but there was some confusion about their identities and significance.

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