New Delhi today rejected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s charge that India was behind the recent terrorist attack on the Karachi Stock Exchange.

”India rejects these absurd comments on the terrorist attack in Karachi. Pakistan cannot shift the blame on India for its domestic problems,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

He said India would like to ask Pakistan to reflect on its own position on terrorism as also the Pakistan Prime Minister’s recent description of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden as a ”martyr”.

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) apparently took responsibility via a social media post for the stock exchange attack in which four armed gunmen attempted to enter its compound. They were stopped by security personnel and in the ensuing gun fire, all four militants were killed, along with a police officer and three security guards.

The Indian spokesperson also completely rejected Pakistan’s decision to hold general elections in Gilgit-Baltistan on 18 August, describing it as an attempt to bring “material change” to the territories under Pakistan’s “illegal and forcible” occupation. Pakistan must vacate the Indian territory under its illegal control, he added.

In response to another question, the spokesperson said 627 Indian nationals, who were stranded in Pakistan in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, have returned to India between 25-27 June via the Attari-Wagah Border. There were still about 100 Indians stranded in the neighbouring country. India was in touch with the Pakistani authorities and awaiting clearances to bring them back home.

On whether India and Pakistan have reduced the strength of their respective missions in Islamabad and New Delhi by 50 per cent, the spokesperson said 38 officials from the Indian High Commission have returned home along with their families. Similarly, 43 officials from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi have gone back to their country along with their families.