Pakistan has responded firmly to the reckless allegation in a section of Indian media about the detention of some Pakistanis in Sri Lanka, calling it an attempt to malign the country.
Some Indian media outlets had tried to link the detention with the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed 359 people in Sri Lanka. At least 500 people were injured in the April 21 attacks.
According to the information shared by Sri Lankan officials, seven Pakistanis were recently detained by the law enforcement authorities on account of overstay on their visas. “This is a purely consular matter and projecting it in any other manner is patently mischievous,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said in a statement on Wednesday.
Such attempts by elements in the Indian media were reflective of a particular, though familiar, mindset bent on twisting facts to malign Pakistan on any pretext, he added. The spokesperson also drew attention to the call of the Sri Lankan leadership to avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation in this connection.
The deadly blasts have been claimed by the Islamic State group, with Sri Lanka’s government pointing the finger at the little-known local group National Thowheeth Jama’ath, but saying the group likely had ‘international’ help.
Nearly 60 people have been detained since the Sunday blasts, which ripped through high-end hotels and churches packed with Easter worshippers in the capital Colombo and beyond.
It is the worst violence in the country since the end of a Tamil insurgency a decade ago.