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Pulwama attack: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria arrives in Delhi

Ajay Bisaria will later hold discussions with top leaders and government officials.

Pulwama attack: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria arrives in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria, who was called back for consultations in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack on CRPF troopers on Thursday, arrived in national capital on Saturday morning.

Bisaria will later hold discussions with top leaders and government officials over the emerging political situation in the wake of the deadly attack.

The Government of India (GoI) had on Friday called Bisaria back home for consultations.

Prior to that, the government summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and lodged a strong protest over the Pulwama terror attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF troopers in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale summoned Mahmood to the MEA at 2 PM and issued a "very strong demarche" in connection with the terror attack on Thursday that also left 38 troopers injured.

Gokhale conveyed that Pakistan must take immediate and verifiable action against the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), which claimed responsibility immediately after the attack, and that it must immediately stop any groups or individuals associated with terrorism and operating from Pakistani territory. 

He also rejected the statement made by the Pakistan Foreign Ministry denying any involvement in the suicide attack, that has been called the worst-ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since terrorism began there in 1989.

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. 

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. 

The JeM, a Pakistan-based outfit, claimed responsibility for the attack in which a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a Central Reserve Police Force bus that was part of a large convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway around 3.15 PM, killing several troopers and leaving the security establishment stunned.