Islamabad/New Delhi: The Coronavirus epidemic has delivered an unexpected gift to Pakistani terror groups. Just about all of their operatives, who were in jail as a condition to keep Pakistan out of Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) blacklist, have now walked free in the name of stemming Coronavirus. These terrorists are living and plotting freely from the comfort of their homes, including LeT chief Hafiz Saeed.
Last month, in a tweet, the Punjab province’s chief minister informed that nearly 50 inmates in a Lahore jail were tested positive of coronavirus. Such situations gave Pakistan an alibi to set terrorists free- at a time when the international focus is on the deadly pathogen, which has claimed thousands of lives worldwide.
The FATF kept Pakistan in its grey list with a review due next month. But the country has already been concealing the ground realities and fudging numbers as the focus of the international community remains on the pandemic.
The recent spurt in terrorism-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir is proof that Pakistan not only hasn’t focussed on the pandemic in its own land but has also been using the crisis to funnel terrorism into India.
On April 18, three personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed and three others injured in a terror attack in the Union Territory.
The terrorists attacked a joint party of the CRPF and police at a check post in Sopore town in the Baramulla district. It was a third such attack against the paramilitary in the Valley within a week.
Before that, a Special Police Officer, who was on patrol duty in Dachhan, was attacked with axes by suspected terrorists on April 13.
A few days later, Dilbag Singh, the Jammu and Kashmir Police chief, had said that said when the world is fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan-backed terrorists are trying to disrupt peace in the Union Territory.
“What we have heard is that till now Pakistan used to export terrorists, now they will export Coronavirus positive persons to infect people in Kashmir,” the DGP said referring to the recent spurt in terrorism-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir.
As terrorism is thwarted by Indian forces, Pakistan has scaled up ceasefire violations along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
Two security personnel, who were injured in ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC in Rampur sector in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday, succumbed to their injuries earlier today.
Earlier on April 30, Pakistan had initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing small arms and shelling with mortars along the LoC in the Poonch district.
With security forces thwarting such attacks, Pakistan is using its age-old tool to try and disrupt peace in India. After the International community mounted pressure on Pakistan, it admitted to having hundreds of terrorists operating from its soil, assuring that strong action would be taken against terror operatives.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on April 20, Pakistan removed thousands of names from its terrorist watch list in an effort to meet obligations ahead of June assessment by a global anti-money-laundering watchdog.
“The so-called proscribed person list, which is maintained by Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority, or NACTA, is intended in part to help financial institutions avoid doing business with or processing transactions of suspected terrorists,” the report stated.
Citing data by Castellum.AI, a New York-based regulatory technology company, the WSJ said that about 1,800 of the names have been removed since the beginning of March.
Analysts believe, in such a situation, it could well be a bit of challenge for the FATF to review in June the steps Pakistan took, using Covid-19 pandemic as a cover-up, to deal with terrorism and terror factories ever since it was put in the watchdog’s grey list. (ANI)