ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned to convey Pakistan’s “severe disappointment” at his government’s callousness towards the Pakistani victim families of Samjhauta Express, waiting for justice for 15 years.
“The Indian diplomat was conveyed our alarm that the Hindutva extremism and “Saffron terror” that had motivated the inhuman attack fifteen years ago has intensified manifolds under the current regime in India,” the Foreign Office said.
February 18 marked the 15th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack on the Samjhauta Express that claimed the lives of 68 innocent passengers including 44 Pakistani nationals.
The Charge d’Affaires was asked to convey to the government of India in the strongest terms, Pakistan’s condemnation of the shameless acquittal and exoneration of all accused involved in the dastardly terrorist attack, including Swami Aseemanand, an RSS activist, who publicly confessed of being the mastermind of the heinous attack.
This was just another manifestation of the brazen impunity and full state protection that perpetrators of terrorism enjoy in the BJP-ruled India.
The Charge d’Affaires was also asked to convey to the Indian government, Pakistan’s demand for a fair trial and for bringing the perpetrators and abettors of the Samjhauta Express terrorist attack to justice.
The families of the innocent Pakistani nationals, mercilessly killed at the hands of the Hindutva-motivated extremists, deserve due punishment, the FO said.
The Government of Pakistan strongly called upon India to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy and faithfully implement its obligations under international legal order, the FO added.
The attack occurred around midnight on 18 February 2007 on the Samjhauta Express, a twice-weekly train service connecting Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan. Bombs were set off in two carriages, both filled with passengers, just after the train passed Diwana near the Indian city of Panipat, 80 kilometers (50 mi) north of New Delhi. 70 people were killed in the ensuing fire and dozens more were injured. Of the 70 fatalities, most were Pakistani civilians. The victims also included some Indian civilians and three railway policemen.
Investigators subsequently found evidence of suitcases with explosives and flammable material, including three undetonated bombs. Inside one of the undetonated suitcases, a digital timer encased in transparent plastic was packed alongside a dozen plastic bottles containing fuel oils and chemicals. After the bombing, eight unaffected carriages were allowed to continue onwards to Lahore with passengers.
India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) charged eight people in the terrorist attack, including Swami Aseemanand, a Hindu cleric formerly affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. While Aseemanand has been released on bail, three persons charged in the case are absconding, and three others are in prison. The alleged mastermind, Sunil Joshi, was killed in 2007. In 2019, the NIA court has acquitted all the accused.