From Sydney to Karachi, new Pak campaign to sully India

Islamabad also alleged in the report that “hostile agencies” were fuelling terrorism by funding sub-national terrorist groups in Pakistan. (Above: Pakistan PM Imran Khan. PTI file photo)

Imran Khan's government in Islamabad has launched a new smear campaign from Karachi to Sydney to accuse India of funding terror strikes in Pakistan.

Pakistan's renewed bids to turn the table on India on cross-border terror met an outright dismissal by New Delhi. India not only once again accused Pakistan of trying to “mainstream” terrorist organizations, but also asked the government of the neighbouring country to “look inwards” and take “credible actions” against “terror infrastructure” in its own territory.

The official delegation of Pakistan Government attending the meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at Sydney in Australia from January 8 to 10 made an attempt to tacitly accuse New Delhi of funding terrorist organizations. New Delhi countered the move, by presenting a set of 28 questions before the FATF – an intergovernmental organization coordinating global efforts against terror financing and money laundering – challenging Pakistan Government’s claim that it had taken adequate measures to prevent the outlawed organizations from receiving the fund to orchestrate terrorist attacks.

It last year put Pakistan on its “Grey List” – officially a list of “jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in its legal regime to check money laundering and terrorist financing”. The Government of Pakistan however in June 2018 made a commitment to work with the FATF to plug the loopholes. Its progress was reviewed by the intergovernmental organization in its meeting in Sydney recently. Pakistan Government’s delegation led by Finance Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan briefed the other FATF members about the measures taken to squeeze flow of funds to the terror organizations. Khan also submitted before the FATF a report on Pakistan Government’s Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment, which identified “foreign funding” as one of the primary sources of terror funding in its territory – along with drug trafficking, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, robbery and bank heists.

Islamabad also alleged in the report that “hostile agencies” were fuelling terrorism by funding sub-national terrorist groups in Pakistan.

The allegation was yet another veiled attempt by Islamabad to link India and its external spy agency Research and Analytical Wing with the insurgency in Balochistan province of Pakistan.

India’s delegation at the FATF meeting questioned the credibility of the report submitted by Pakistan.

Islamabad of late also accused New Delhi of funding the November 23, 2018 terror attack on the Consulate General of China in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province of Pakistan. Amir Shaikh, police chief of the port-city, said that the investigation into the attack revealed that it had been carried out by separatist Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). Shaikh also told journalists in Karachi that the attack had been planned in Afghanistan and funded by a spy agency of India.

Three terrorists had made an attempt to storm into the Consulate General of China in Karachi on November 23 last year, but they had been stopped and shot dead by the police personnel. Two police officers and two civilians, who had gone to the consulate to apply for visas, had also been killed during the exchange of fire. The BLA had later claimed responsibility for the attack.

The BLA and other Baloch organizations in Pakistan have been opposing the $ 62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious cross-continental Belt and Road Initiative or the BRI. They accused Beijing of helping Islamabad exploit the natural resources of Balochistan, without ensuring adequate benefit to the indigenous people of the province. The CPEC will link Xinxiang in China to Gwadar Port in Pakistan.

New Delhi too is opposed to the CPEC, as it passes through Jammu and Kashmir areas, which India claims as its integral part and accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying.

The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi rejected the “fabricated and scurrilous attempts” by Pakistan to accuse India for the attack on the Consulate General of China in Karachi. “Instead of maliciously pointing fingers at others for such terrorist incidents, Pakistan needs to look inwards and undertake credible action against support to terrorism and terror infrastructure in its territories,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the MEA, said.

New Delhi suspects that Islamabad’s move to blame it for the terror attack on Chinese Consulate in Karachi is aimed at derailing the process to mend India-China ties, which had hit a new low over the 72-day-long military face-off at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan in June-August 2017 but was on an upswing in 2018.

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From Sydney to Karachi, new Pak campaign to sully India

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