Sultan M Hali
INDIAN secret services are in an overdrive to denigrate Pakistan. Indian media, which is hand in glove with the Indian secret services, continues its incessant barrage of lies to malign Pakistan. Indian TV Channel “India Today”, in its regular show India First” on May 9, 2018, aired a very malicious discussion based on fabricated information to smear Pakistan. Labeling it as a mega scoop, the host of the show, Gaurav Savant, infamous for his anti-Pakistan tirades, declared that Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency ISI is launching a heinous plot to set (Indian Occupied) Kashmir ablaze by roping in Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists to get out from Pakistani jails and in return, wage Jihad in Jammu and Kashmir. Quoting Indian intelligence reports, the TV anchor spitefully claimed that ISI was willing to free TTP culprits, who had killed 142 Army Public School children and teachers in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 and now languishing in Pakistani jails with a deal to foment trouble in IOK.
To add flavour to its mendacity, the Indian TV Channel provided graphic details of a “top secret” meeting between ISI officials and TTP leaders and also Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Muhammad to free the TTP convicts but launch them against India. The fictitious “India Today” report also stated that Pakistan Army commandos were deputed to provide guerrilla warfare training to the TTP personnel before launching them in IOK. To make the lies palatable, it was claimed by the rabid anti-Pakistan Indian TV Channel that since the snow was melting on the mountains, the paths to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir would be open, while most of the “terror leaders” in Kashmir had been eliminated by Indian Security forces, so Pakistan was constrained to launch the hardened criminals of TTP.
There are two possible reasons for India to launch its malevolent propaganda campaign against Pakistan. Firstly, the Financial Anti Terror Task Force (FATF) is scheduled to meet in June. During its last get together, FATF had placed Pakistan in the gray list with a warning that if Pakistan did not adopt stringent measures to stop its support for terrorism, it will end up in the blacklist. The FATF blacklist has been issued by the FATF since 2000 and lists countries which it judges to be non-cooperative in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, calling them “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories” (NCCTs). Pakistan has been in the FATF gray list earlier too from 2012 to 2015, a period during which it successfully completed an IMF program and raised over $5 billion from the international bond markets. During this period Pakistan’s imports and exports remained stable, evidence that the grey-listing did not raise any significant barriers to trade.
This time it is not only back again but the threat of ending up in the blacklist looms like the sword of Damocles hanging over its head. The implications of being placed on the FATF blacklist will squeeze Pakistan’s economy and make it harder for the country to meet its mounting foreign financing needs, including potential future borrowings from the International Monetary Fund. It could also lead to a downgrade in Pakistan’s debt ratings, making it more difficult to tap into the international bond markets. Pakistan has been under pressure, ever since President Trump took oath of office as the US President. He has a staunch ally in India, ever willing to throw Pakistan under the bus. Since coming to power, the Trump administration has made a concerted effort to coerce Pakistan into ending its alleged support of non-state armed groups such as the Haqqani Network. Initially, Pakistan reacted nonchalantly to this shift in policy and released Hafiz Saeed, leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the man India holds responsible for the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, from house arrest in November of 2017.
Nothing would give India greater pleasure than to see Pakistan getting destabilized under international sanctions, seething and squirming under the financial arm twisting, the FATF rating will ensure. The second reason why India wants to disparage Pakistan is to draw international opinion away from its own reign of terror in IOK. The Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir have been subjected to brutalization and mass murder since 1989 when they decided to take up arms against the illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir by Indian Forces. According to independent sources, more than 100,000 innocent Kashmiris have been massacred, thousands of Kashmiri women raped and hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri youth are either rotting in Indian jails or have been killed and buried in mass graves. Indian Armed Forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, continue wreaking havoc on the hapless Kashmiris under the umbrella of the draconian law Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
On July 8, 2016, popular Kashmiri youth leader Burhan Wani was assassinated. Thousands of Kashmiri youth came out into the streets in protest; over 200 of them have been killed while 3,600 have been blinded with the use of pellet guns aiming at their eyes. Additionally, Hindu extremists have been let loose on the Indian minorities with impunity. They attack Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and even lower caste Hindus, the Dalit. Notable Indians have protested against this reign of terror and have returned their national awards. Many renowned academics including Noam Chomsky have sent a petition to India asking them to stop its frenzy of madness. India does not want to be castigated internationally so it is besmirching Pakistan instead.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.