News Analysis | With ‘terror dossier’ against India, Pakistan tries to kill two birds with...

News Analysis | With ‘terror dossier’ against India, Pakistan tries to kill two birds with one shot

One of the intentions is to play on India-China tensions by attempting to implicate India in attacks on CPEC, says MEA

In a strong retort to Pakistan’s announcement of a ‘dossier’ on terror released over the weekend, India dismissed the charges as having “no credibility, are fabricated and represent figments of imagination”. The Ministry of External Affairs said the press conference addressed by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and its military spokesperson was a “deliberate attempt on the part of the Pakistani establishment to shift focus from its internal political and economic failures”. Senior officials told The Hindu that they also denote a more long-term campaign by Pakistan to attempt to ‘“mirror’ what Pakistan itself has been accused of, that led to its grey-listing at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“Pakistan is attempting to mirror what it believes were Indian attempts at ‘politicising the FATF’, forgetting that its primary problems began not with India, but USA, UK, France and Germany, which nominated it to the greylist in [June] 2018, and even China supported the nomination,” said a senior security official who had studied the documents released.

In fact, the overview document entitled “Indian State Sponsorship of terrorism and destabilisation in Pakistan”, which was circulated by the office of Pakistan’s special advisor on National Security Moeed Yusuf, specifically mentions the FATF.

“Tangible evidences reflect that Indian foreign missions in FATF member countries have always been extensively lobbying with hosts prior to FATF meetings to undermine Pakistan’s achievements and create conditions for our grey/blacklisting,” says the document issued by Islamabad, claiming access to letters of Indian missions in various countries from February to April 2018 as proof.

“India needs to be scrutinised at FATF platform in the light of evidences presented by Pakistan as well as recent revelations made by the [U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network] FINCEN which amplify the fragility of Indian terror financing and money laundering regimes,” says the document, laying out Islamabad’s intention to raise this at the FATF’s India review that begins in February 2021.

In particular, the officials said Pakistan has been keen to amplify reports that Indian Muslims maybe ‘radicalised’ into joining groups like al-Qaeda and IS and operating in Afghanistan to target India as “Transnational Risk for Terror financing,” though the Ministry of Home Affairs has repeatedly denied any evidence of this. Pakistan’s document claims Indian intelligence organisations run “87 terrorists camps out of which 66 are located in Afghanistan whereas 21 are located in India”, a charge that the Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied as well. It remains to be seen whether the issue will come up on Thursday when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan visits Kabul.

The Pakistani ‘dossier’, that contains a number of spelling mistakes, unverifiable Indian names and unidentifiable locations, also claims, that Indian officials of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) have made transfers of Pakistani ₹22 billion ($138 million) to militant groups in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Balochistan for terror activities. Most of the alleged transfers are to groups in Balochistan, linking India to attacks planned against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“It would seem the intention here is not only to play on India-China tensions by attempting to implicate India in attacks on the CPEC, but also to whitewash the Pakistan government’s own actions to suppress local protests against CPEC projects, that could be construed as human rights violations, as a fight against terrorism,” said an MEA official.

According to diplomatic sources, India is prepared for continued attempts by Pakistan to raise these issues while India is in the U.N. Security Council (2021-22) as well as at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), where Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Munir Akram was elected President this year. In particular, they say Pakistan’s strategy over the past year is to use what Mr. Akram called “four types of terrorism” to target India, which he listed as the use of Afghan territory for bases, the use of mercenaries in Balochistan, “state terrorism” in Jammu and Kashmir and “Hindutva” terrorism, by bringing Indian names to the 1267 UN terror designations committee.

“All Pakistani attempts have been rejected at the UN Security Council on a number of occasions,” said the official, “but we expect them to try again.”

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