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Ambassador Naghmana A. Hashmi (R)

The writer has served as an Ambassador to China, the European Union, Belgium, Luxembourd and Ireland. She has also authored and edited several books including Magnificent Pakistan, Pakistan-China All Weather Friendship, and Lost Cities of Indus.E-mail: [email protected]

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Hilal English

India's New Playbook for Extraterritorial Assassination of Opponents

March 2024

The Indian government's systemic failures to prosecute security force personnel for extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings raise broader concerns about its willingness to address transnational repression.



Irrespective of how vehemently India denies any involvement in recent high-profile extraterritorial murders, the mounting body of evidence against India is becoming irrefutable. India has been carrying out these nefarious activities for decades, with Indian intelligence agents actively involved in abductions and assassinations in South Asia. 
Pakistan has remained a victim of a pattern of deliberate extraterritorial murders, which is now establishing itself, particularly in Pakistan, raising the spectre of a sinister state-backed assassination program targeting those considered threats by India. India simply labels anyone as a terrorist who fights for their rights or says that they don’t want to live under their rule anymore after what has been done to them. India has political issues all its neighbors, particularly  Pakistan, which refuses to accept India's bullying and hegemonic ambitions. India leaves no opportunity to blame Pakistan and instigate violence and accusations against Pakistan.


India has political issues with all its neighbors, particularly Pakistan, which refuses to accept India's bullying and hegemoNIC AMBITions.


Worse, however, is the silence of the global press on these murders by India in South Asia, in stark contrast to the outcry following Nijjar’s assassination in Canada, displaying the typical geopolitical bias in international media. The only difference this time is that now India has been exposed as it dared to carry out these extraterritorial murders in a Western democracy. The assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian national, and Sikh separatist leader, sparked a diplomatic standoff between the two countries last year. Canadian Prime Minister pointed the finger at India, insinuating the involvement of the Modi government in Nijjar’s murder. 
In November last year, the U.S. authorities announced charges against an Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, whom they alleged was recruited by an unnamed Indian government official to arrange a contract killing of a Sikh separatist leader in the U.S. The Indian authorities said such actions were "contrary to government policy" and announced a high-level inquiry committee to investigate the allegations.
The Nijjar murder in Canada and the exposed plan to assassinate another Sikh leader in the U.S. are not without precedent, yet they stand out starkly against several other killings and events that have failed to capture the global spotlight with the same intensity. Despite this, India resolutely denied the allegations. It went on to slash the diplomatic presence of Canada in India by almost two-thirds without really facing any adverse consequences except muted verbal protests by some of India’s Western allies.   
In recent years, the series of murders in Pakistan began in 2018 with the assassination of Mohammad Ismael in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Bashir Ahmed met the same fate in Rawalpindi, quickly followed by Khalid Raza in Karachi days later, and then Mohammed Riyaz was killed in AJK. Each murder bore the hallmarks of Indian RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) operators with clinical execution that left few, if any, traces behind. We have now seen an increased sophistication in these operations by Indian operatives, as was evident from the targeted murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada and two Kashmiri activists in Pakistan. 
In a press conference on January 25, 2024, the Pakistan Foreign Office revealed that Pakistan had credible evidence linking Indian agents to the murder of two Pakistani nationals on Pakistani soil in 2023. They also disclosed that, currently, they were only sharing information on two cases, and more cases would be revealed once the investigation was complete. This implies that, in reality, more assassinations had taken place in 2023 on Pakistani soil by Indian operatives.


In a press conference on January 25, 2024, the Pakistan Foreign Office revealed that Pakistan had credible evidence linking Indian agents to the murder of two Pakistani nationals on Pakistani soil in 2023.


Due to the hard work and diligence of our security agencies, with the assistance of other related organizations, we were able to conclusively determine the link between the murders and the Indian mastermind behind them. These two killings were murder-for-hire cases involving sophisticated international setups spread over three different countries in the region. Indian intelligence agents utilized technology and safe havens on foreign soil to commit murders in Pakistan. They recruited, financed, and supported criminals, terrorists, and unsuspecting civilians to play defined roles in these assassinations.
Potential assassins were recruited using social media, talent spotters, and fake Da’esh accounts. We have now established that there was complete compartmentalization of the various components of the operation, involving teams of financiers, locators, and assassins. Elaborate exit plans were developed to obscure all potential tracks. The Pakistani authorities now possess hard evidence of all these tracks and networks.
It is important to note that social media accounts linked to Indian intelligence immediately claimed and glorified these murders as successful retribution against enemies of India, projecting their capacity to carry out these illegal acts. It is critical to bring to justice those involved in this network and hold assassins accountable. Indian intelligence agents must face justice for these murderous campaigns in Pakistan.


Due to the hard work and diligence of our security agencies, with the assistance of other related organizations, we were able to conclusively determine the link between the murders and the Indian mastermind behind them. These two killings were murder-for-hire cases involving sophisticated international setups spread over three different countries in the region.


As masterminds and facilitators of these murders remain at large and enjoy Indian state patronage and protection, Pakistan has conveyed its serious concerns to the Indian authorities. It has also approached the countries whose soils were used to mount these operations to take the investigation forward and help unveil the ugly face of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
The international community must hold India accountable for its blatant violations of international law. These extraterritorial assassinations are also a violation of Pakistan's territorial sovereignty and the United Nations Charter. Violation of Pakistan's territorial sovereignty cannot be and should not be tolerated. Any effort by the international community to appease India due to its strategic and economic significance in the changing geostrategic game will only embolden India to take charge of this path of illegal acts. If not stopped, it will come to haunt those who remain tolerant and silent at the blatant violation of international law by India now.
The West is enamoured by India's economic rise and geopolitical importance and believes that India can do no wrong and that when Pakistan accuses India, it is just being paranoid. They conveniently ignore that India has a long history of these types of terrorist actions. Turning a blind eye to the genocide of minorities, particularly Muslims, taking place in India under fascist Modi, has encouraged India to not only continue to terrorize its minorities but also bully its smaller South Asian neighbors. When all the pieces are put together, it becomes evident that the current strategy of the Indian government involves launching an offensive campaign against its opponents, both within India and in other countries.
Transgressions on a smaller scale are done by big powers to sometimes prevent things from getting worse on a larger scale, and these, in general, have been largely tolerated by the international community. Extrajudicial killings and kidnappings have become more common in recent years as countries have mostly gotten away with them with minor diplomatic sanctions, even if the actual killers are found and arrested. 


Turning a blind eye to the genocide of minorities, particularly muslims, taking place in India under fascist Modi, has encouraged India to not only continue to terrorize its minorities but also bully its smaller South Asian neighbors.


India is now trying to emulate these big powers by projecting its ability to remove its detractors and opponents worldwide. India is now an emerging power trying to shape an independent and potent national interest. However, India's ego is bigger than its economic and military strength. It does not realize that it is still far from achieving the great power status comparable with the U.S., China, and Russia and that it should not underestimate the ability of others, particularly Pakistan, to defend its territorial integrity and its people  
Indian authorities must conduct thorough, impartial investigations against government agents involved in assassination plots against opponents in the United States, Canada, and Pakistan. The Indian government has already been linked to online disinformation campaigns against academics and activists living abroad. The Indian government's systemic failures to prosecute security force personnel for extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings raise broader concerns about its willingness to address transnational repression.


The writer has served as an Ambassador to China, the European Union, Belgium, Luxembourg. and Ireland. She has also authored and edited several books including Magnificent Pakistan, Pakistan-China All Weather Friendship, and Lost Cities of Indus. 
E-mail: [email protected]
 

Ambassador Naghmana A. Hashmi (R)

The writer has served as an Ambassador to China, the European Union, Belgium, Luxembourd and Ireland. She has also authored and edited several books including Magnificent Pakistan, Pakistan-China All Weather Friendship, and Lost Cities of Indus.E-mail: [email protected]

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