Pakistan’s education minister Shafqat Mahmood at the UNESCO meet criticised the Ayodhya verdict in India and said that it was contrary to the values of religious freedom. Just like the Kashmir issue, this too has rightly got no traction.
When we talk terror, fake currency and a state policy to bleed India, there is one thing in common - Pakistan. The failed state is known to meddle in the affairs of India and despite facing an imminent collapse, Pakistan continues to make India its main policy.
While Pakistan continues to meddle in the affairs of Kashmir, it has now raked up the Ayodhya issue as well. Pakistan’s education minister Shafqat Mahmood at the UNESCO meet criticised the Ayodhya verdict and said that it was contrary to the values of religious freedom. This reckless statement by Pakistan comes at a time when the Muslims of India have called for peace in the aftermath of the verdict and said that they want a closure to this case that has dragged on for centuries.
Pakistan needs to clean its own mess:
The recent ranting on the Ayodhya judgment was clearly another attempt by Pakistan to stir up emotions. It has been going from one international forum to another dishing out the Kashmir issue, but has failed to gain much traction. It feels that there would be instability if it manages to rake up a communal riot in India, by raking up the Ayodhya issue. The issue has rightly got no traction in India.
India’s foreign minister, S Jaishankar, rightly said that Pakistan has been building an industry out of terrorism. He also said that the industry of terror has been built by Pakistan to put pressure on India and there is no denying that.
The rap by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is testimony to the fact that Pakistan has done nothing about terror funding. During the September 2019 meet, Pakistan faced nearly 125 questions at the FATF relating to terror funding and money laundering. During the meeting prior to that, it was noted that Pakistan failed on 32 out of 40 parameters, following which Pakistan was placed under the Enhanced Expedited Follow up list.
It was clear that Pakistan had done nothing to curb the Lashkar-e-Taiba boss, Hafiz Saeed. Despite protests in India, it also released JeM chief, Azhar. Pakistan has a couple of months time before it could explain what it has done about terror funding. It is currently on the Grey List and if it fails to act, it would be staring at being downgraded to the Black List, following which harsher sanctions would be slapped.
US President Donald Trump had in August announced that the US was cutting $ 440 million financial aid to Pakistan. The aid to the cash strapped nation was disbursed under the Pakistan Enhanced Partnership Agreement, 2010. Last year, the US military cancelled the financial aid worth $ 300 million. Prior to that in January, the Pentagon had cut $ 1 billion financial aid. Trump said that the problem was that Pakistan was not doing anything for them. They were going against us.
India has also repeatedly maintained that Pakistan would divert these funds to sponsor terror both in India as well as Afghanistan. Pakistan being added to the list of countries, ‘deemed high risk,’ for doing too little to curb terror would have further financial implications.
Indian officials say that Pakistan is on the verge of a collapse. It cannot and will never act against its proxies. The military and the ISI will not allow it. These developments are already having its ramifications. Banks and other lenders apart from international companies are already re-thinking doing business with Pakistan. This is only going to hit the dying economy of Pakistan further, the officials also add.
Terror is a state subject in Pakistan:
Pakistan has been criticised world over for being the primary sponsor of terror. It has not only nurtured terrorists over the years, but has also given shelter to the likes of Osama bin Laden, Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon just to name a few.
While Pakistan continues to deny its role in terrorism, it would be interesting to note what their own former President, Pervez Musharraf had to say. He admitted in an interview that the Kashmiris were trained in Pakistan to fight against the Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir. He called them as Pakistan’s heroes. He also went on to say that the Kashmiris who arrived in Pakistan received a hero's welcome. "Outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba are our heroes," he had said.
The US has said on several occasions that the Lashkar-e-Taiba is the ideal proxy for Pakistan. The outfit has been a notorious player in Kashmir and also behind the deadly 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The investigations into the 26/11 attack proved how closely the Pakistan Army worked alongside the Lashkar. From fedayeen to maritime training to logistics, everything was overseen by the Pakistan Army which had deputed Major Samir Ali and Colonel Hamza to train the terrorists. The mysterious Sajid Mir, who had played a vital role in the logistics is also believed to be part of the Pakistan Army.
The case is similar with the Jaish-e-Mohammad as well. The outfit rose following the Kandahar hijack and the Parliament attack. Following the attack on Pakistan, Musharraf had assured India that Maulana Masood Azhar who had been released post IC-814 would be acted upon. However he allowed Azhar to hold a mammoth rally, following which the JeM was born.
The JeM has been funded by the ISI and operates both in India as well as in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban. Since Pakistan is well aware that winning a conventional war with India is out of the question, it uses these proxies to engage with the Indian security agencies all the time.
Christine Fair from the Georgetown University said during a roundtable at the Hudson Institute think tank that the Lashkar is a perfect proxy for Pakistan’s spy agency ISI. This is why they are so competent. The terror group is very pro-state. So in some ways, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was made that way. The Lashkar is an ideal proxy and it is as close as you get to a proxy, she also said.
Another proxy that Pakistan has been using is the Hizbul Mujahideen. This outfit which operates in Kashmir has been the face of terrorism in the Valley. This group indulges in terror attacks, stone pelting and also works in tandem with the Separatists who set the agenda along with Pakistan.
Over the years, Pakistan has also nurtured and backed terrorists who fight beyond Kashmir. The Students Islamic Movement of India and the Indian Mujahideen were the home grown terror outfits of Pakistan.
Dying economy, but rich enough to fund terror:
The establishment has made Kashmir its top priority. However is that what the people of Pakistan feel. A study by the Gallup International and Gilani Pakistan said 53% of the respondents in Pakistan believe that the country’s economy, specifically increasing inflation is the biggest problem facing them today.
23% said unemployment is a concern and just 8% voiced concern over the Kashmir issue. In July this year, the International Monetary Fund had said that Pakistan was facing significant economic challenges due to a weak and unbalanced growth and it needs ambitious reforms. Pakistan also had a currency reserve of less than $ 8 billion that is enough to cover only 1.7 months of imports. Pakistan even signed a $ 6 million bailout package with the IMF. Further, Pakistan has gone to Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seeking a bailout package.
In the aftermath of the 26/11 attack, the Intelligence agencies in India did a thorough assessment of the kind of money that the ISI pumps into terror operations. In the year 2008, the annual budget that the ISI had earmarked to fund terror was Rs 1,800 crore. Intelligence Bureau officials tell MyNation that today it could easily be in the range of Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore. Pakistan has been investing in its terror groups to procure sophisticated weapons and hence even the budgetary allocation has shot up.
For instance the Lashkar, collects funds from an internal source such a charities, front businesses legitimised by the ISI. The external funding is completely done by the ISI which gets money through the drug cartels and donations from wealthy businessmen from Saudi Arabia, UK and the US.
When the IB spoke about the Rs 1,800 crore terror funding, it specifically said that Rs 800 crore was earned through the drug smuggling racket.
The ISI also oversees the fake currency racket, which has also been a major draw in terms of funds for terror. The 11 cases that the National Investigation Agency is probing clearly reveal that fake currency is being used to fund terror. That apart, David Headley had said in the aftermath of the 26/11 attack that he was given fake notes in India.
The terror groups in Pakistan have been allowed to raise money legitimately. They get income from schools, trade establishments, NGOs, donations, selling of animal skin during Eid just to name a few. There is a legitimate grant by the Punjab government as well. The terror groups have also dabbled in real estate, commodity trading and investment in infrastructure. The ISI has also allowed these groups to set up offshore banking accounts in the UAE.
Last Updated 3:39 PM IST