Khalistani terrorist Paramjit Singh Panjwar, who was wanted by India and designated as a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Lahore, Pakistan, on Saturday morning. Panjwar, 63, was out for a walk near his residence when he was attacked. His guard was also injured in the shooting and later died in the hospital.
Panjwar was heading the Khalistan Commando Force-Panjwar group, which was reportedly responsible for several terrorist attacks in India. He had been on the run for over two decades and was believed to be living in Pakistan under the protection of the country’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The Indian government had been pressing Pakistan to extradite Panjwar to face trial in India, but Pakistan had denied his presence on its soil. The killing of Panjwar is likely to strain the already tense relations between India and Pakistan.
The Khalistan Commando Force was a militant group that sought to establish an independent Sikh state in Punjab, India, in the 1980s and 1990s. The group was responsible for several high-profile attacks, including the assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995.
Panjwar was a key member of the group and had been involved in several terrorist activities in India. He was also accused of masterminding the 2010 car bomb blast in Patiala, Punjab, which killed four people and injured several others.
The killing of Panjwar has been welcomed by the Indian government, which has long been demanding Pakistan to take action against terror groups operating on its soil. “We welcome any step taken by Pakistan to curb terrorism and to dismantle terror infrastructure operating from its soil,” said a spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
The spokesperson added that India hoped that Pakistan would take similar action against other terrorist groups operating from its territory, including Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which have been responsible for several terrorist attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has condemned the killing of Panjwar and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. “We strongly condemn the killing of Paramjit Singh Panjwar and his guard. Such acts of violence are unacceptable and have no place in our society,” said a statement by Pakistan’s Foreign Office.
The statement added that the Pakistani government had launched an investigation into the killing and was in touch with Indian authorities to exchange information. “We remain committed to our efforts to eradicate terrorism and extremism from our country and the region,” the statement said.
The killing of Panjwar is likely to have significant implications for the security situation in the region. It remains to be seen whether the incident will lead to a further escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan or whether it will serve as a catalyst for improved cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism.