India summons Pakistan's High Commissioner, lodges protest over killing of CRPF jawans

The Pakistani envoy was summoned to the MEA office on Friday.

India summons Pakistan's High Commissioner, lodges protest over killing of CRPF jawans

NEW DELHI: The Government of India (GoI) on Friday summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner and lodged a strong protest in connection with Thursday's deadly suicide attack on CRPF troopers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama which left 40 dead and several critically injured.

According to news agency ANI, Foreign Secretary summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday and issued a very strong demarche in connection with the terrorist attack in J&K's Pulwama.

Foreign Secretary conveyed that Pakistan must take immediate and verifiable action against JeM and that it must immediately stop groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories. 

He also rejected the statement issued by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

Earlier, sending out a tough message to Pakistan, the government on Friday withdrew the 'most-favoured nation' status to Pakistan, a move which would enable India to increase customs duty on goods coming from the neighbouring country.

In a media briefing after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the most-favoured-nation (MFN) status to Pakistan stands revoked.

India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in in 1996, but the neighbouring country has not yet reciprocated.

The MFN status was accorded under WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Both India and Pakistan are signatories to this; and are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which means they have to treat each other and the other WTO member countries as favoured trading partners in terms of imposing customs duties on goods.  

Meanwhile, coming down heavily on Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that those behind the Pulwama terror attack have committed a “grave mistake” and they will “punished”.

"If our neighbour, which is totally isolated in the world, thinks it can destabilise India through its tactics and conspiracies, then it is making a big mistake," the Prime Minister said.

"I want to tell terrorist organisations and their guardians that they have done a grave mistake. Those behind the attack will be punished for their actions,” PM Modi said here while flagging off the Delhi-Varanasi high-speed Vande Bharat Express train.

Paying tributes to the CRPF personnel who lost their lives in the Pulwama attack, he said, “Our security forces have been given full freedom (to carry out anti-terror operations). We have full faith in their bravery."

PM Modi also thanked the countries which have supported India and condemned this incident in the strongest of terms. 

“A strong reply will be given to this attack,” he said.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed after a suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a bus carrying them on Thursday.

The bus was extensively damaged in the blast, which was followed by firing on the vehicle. Soon after, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which is based in Pakistan and backed by the Pakistani administration, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was carried out by its suicide bomber.

After the dastardly act, India demanded that the UN ban JeM and its chief Masood Azhar who roams freely in Pakistan.

In a statement, India`s External Affairs Ministry said all UN member countries should support a proposal for proscribing Azhar as an international terrorist.