ISLAMABAD – Pakistan said on Thursday that it has not found any proof linking the country to the February attack in India-administered Kashmir that led to one of the worst military escalations between India and Pakistan in decades.
The disputed northern Indian state has been on edge since the Pulwama attack when a suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a bus carrying Indian paramilitary troopers on Feb. 14, killing 42, and raising tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, “While 54 detained individuals are being investigated, no details linking them to Pulwama have been found so far.”
The authorities added that they have not located insurgent camps in the 21 locations that were shared by India and said that it is willing to allow visits to these locations.
“Additional information and documents from India would be essential to continue the process of investigations,” the ministry said.
The investigations were carried out after India sent a report following the Pulwama attack and Delhi also alleged the involvement of the Pakistan based group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
The attack led to Indian airstrikes on an alleged JeM camp on Pakistan’s territory on Feb. 26 and subsequent retaliation by Pakistan, which resulted in aerial combat between the two sides in which warplanes were shot down and an Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan.
As a first step to reducing tensions between the two South Asian countries, Islamabad freed the Indian pilot.
A few days later, Islamabad placed 121 members of outlawed organizations in preventive detention and also took control of 182 seminaries.
India has repeatedly accused Pakistan of supporting cross-border terrorism and of sheltering terrorist groups on its territory which plan attacks on Indian targets.
India also accuses Pakistan of sponsoring militancy in Kashmir, which is one of the most militarized regions in the world.
The two countries claim the region – divided into Indian Kashmir and Pakistani Kashmir – in its entirety and have fought two major wars and several minor skirmishes over it.