Pulwama terror attack : India withdraws MFN status from Pakistan

JeM claims responsibility, India points finger at Pak; 78 buses were ferrying 2,500 jawans from Jammu to Valley.

CRPF attack Pulwama LIVE Updates: The Modi government on Friday announced withdrawal of trade benefits accorded to Pakistan under Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.

In the deadliest terror attack in restive Jammu and Kashmir ever, at least 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and more than a dozen others injured on Thursday when a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist rammed an explosives-laden SUV into their bus in Pulwama district.

The police and witnesses said that a lone suicide attacker detonated a Mahindra Scorpio laden with around “350 kgs” of explosive near a bus at around 3.15 pm as a convoy of 78 CRPF vehicles was travelling down the heavily guarded stretch of the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Lethapora in southern Pulwama district, about 30 kilometres from Srinagar. While the JeM claimed that it used 350 kgs of explosives, the police said that 100 kgs of explosive was used.

The SUV was being driven on the wrong side of the road before it rammed into the CRPF bus coming towards it, police said

According to tv reports, the terrorists was carrying around 200 kg of explosives, including probably RDX, in his vehicle that hit the CRPF. CRPF officials said the bus which was the main target, was destroyed fully while another CRPF vehicle was partly damaged. The local police said that suicide bomber-driven vehicle came along the CRPF bus when a 78-vehicle convoy carrying 2,547 security personnel was going from the transit camp in Jammu to Srinagar and rammed it into the bus around 3.15 pm. The blast was followed by gunshots by terrorists. The attack happened in Goripora area of Awantipora in district Pulwama.

There were about 2,500 CRPF personnel on board the 78 vehicles in the convoy that was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar, officials said.

It was an unusually long convoy as many personnel were being transported at one go because the Srinagar-Jammu highway had been shut for the last two days due to bad weather. The convoy had left Jammu around 3.30 am and was expected to reach Srinagar before sunset.

The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the powerful explosion that could be heard about 10-12 km away, including some parts of Srinagar adjoining the Pulwama district.

The terror outfit also put out a video and photos of an armed man, Adil Ahmad Dar alias Waqas commando from Kakapora, and claimed that he was the suicide attacker. He had joined the group in 2018.

Body parts of Adil, who was driving the explosive-laden vehicle, were also found at the spot, police said.


The scene of the incident is not very far from the Commando Training Centre at Lethpora, which was stormed by JeM terrorists on December 31, 2017, killing five CRPF personnel.

JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan, in a statement issued to a local news agency, said that “dozens of forces’ vehicles were destroyed in the attack”.

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik pointed the needle of suspicion towards Pakistan. “Visibly it seems to be guided from across the border as JeM has claimed responsibility,” he said. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the attack along with the Jammu and Kashmir police, officials said. This is the first suicide car bomb strike in Kashmir since the 2001 attack on the J&K Assembly that left 38 people dead.

As soon as the explosion took place, people started running for safety. The shopkeepers at Lethpora market, which is less than 300 metres from the scene of the attack, downed their shutters and fled.

The injured were rushed to the Army’s 92-Base hospital in Srinagar’s Badami Bagh Cantonment. Army sources said that the death toll could rise further as the condition of some of the injured CRPF personnel was “critical”.

Condemning the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain.”

The CCS meeting was attended by Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and Sushma Swaraj.

In the worst-ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his vehicle loaded with heavy explosives into a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district on Thursday evening. The incident left over 40 jawans dead and several injured. Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the terror attack. It even released a video clip of the suicide bomber which it claimed was shot just a few hours before he carried out the attack. The man was identified as Adil Ahmad Dar.

According to tv reports, the terrorists was carrying around 200 kg of explosives, including probably RDX, in his vehicle that hit the CRPF. CRPF officials said the bus which was the main target, was destroyed fully while another CRPF vehicle was partly damaged. The local police said that suicide bomber-driven vehicle came along the CRPF bus when a 78-vehicle convoy carrying 2,547 security personnel was going from the transit camp in Jammu to Srinagar and rammed it into the bus around 3.15 pm. The blast was followed by gunshots by terrorists. The attack happened in Goripora area of Awantipora in district Pulwama.

China’s repeated betrayals on Masood Azhar show Pakistan’s growing importance

China has once again blocked the move, this time by three permanent members of the UN Security Council — US, UK and France — to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as an international terrorist. The US and the UK have treated India’s case on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism with ambivalence in the past.

China can hardly tout its commitment to combat the menace of international terrorism collectively if it opposes tagging as a terrorist the leader of an organisation already declared one by the UNSC. Because Pakistan claims that terrorism from its soil is the handiwork of “non-state” actors which escape government control should actually make it easier for China to join the UNSC consensus on Masood Azhar.
In reality, Pakistan has become so important geo-politically for China because of the illegal China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Gwadar — the meeting point between its connectivity projects on land and sea — that it is willing to be seen in our eyes as complicit with Pakistan on promoting terror against India. Reports that China has encouraged Pakistan to put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest are “fake news” intended to present China in good light in view of its obstructionism on Masood Azhar’s case.

Why China should counsel Pakistan to place curbs on the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief, the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks whose incarceration and prosecution India seeks, and prevent action against the JeM chief responsible for the Pathankot attack defies common sense.

In a message, US ambassador Kenneth Juster said, “Strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. The US stands alongside India in confronting terror and defeating it.”

The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the jihadist group active mainly in Jammu and Kashmir, has carried out several attacks, including the 2001 attack on Parliament in New Delhi, and is also suspected of being responsible for the attack on the Pathankot airbase in 2016. It has been declared a “terrorist group” by the UN, US and India.