Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Syrus Qazi has responded to Canada’s accusation of Indian involvement in the killing of a Sikh leader on Canadian soil. Qazi, speaking at the United Nations, stated that Pakistan is not surprised by the allegations and that they are aware of the nature of their eastern neighbour. He also mentioned that Pakistan had previously caught an Indian naval intelligence officer who had confessed to creating instability and spreading evil in Pakistan. The killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June and India’s alleged involvement was the cause of the recent tension between Canada and India. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Indian involvement in the killing an unacceptable violation of their sovereignty. In response, India expelled a Canadian diplomat and dismissed the accusations as absurd and motivated. Qazi emphasized that Pakistan is not afraid of India and has been protecting its freedom against a rival country 60 times bigger in size for the past 70 years. The row over the Sikh leader’s killing is the latest in an escalating conflict between India and Canada, which has led to India warning its citizens against travelling to Canada. India’s main opposition party, Congress, also backed the government’s rejection of the allegations and urged a stand against threats to India’s sovereignty. The Sikh separatist movement seeks to create a separate homeland called Khalistan out of Punjab, which was the site of a bloody insurgency in the 1980s and 1990s. The World Sikh Organisation of Canada and the son of the slain leader supported Trudeau’s assertion and accused India of targeting Sikhs in Canada for decades with espionage, disinformation, and now murder. Canada’s New Democratic Party leader called for an inclusion of India in an ongoing probe of alleged interference in Canadian affairs.
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