India raises 5 points to prove Imran Khan govt is trying to mainstream terror

NEW DELHI: With Pakistan PM Imran Khan stating that it is India which has blocked engagement between the two countries, the government has hit out at Pakistan saying Islamabad has done nothing to create an atmosphere conducive to dialogue.

Top official sources told TOI that despite Islamabad’s claims that action was being taken against terrorism, there was no sign of movement on this front. On the contrary, they insisted, Pakistan’s actions under Khan showed that Islamabad was not only providing support to terrorists but also seeking to mainstream terrorist groups.

This, according to the Indian government, was evidenced by 5 specific instances as per information compiled by it.

First, Pakistan Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi is said to have met JuD leader and UN proscribed terrorist Hafiz Saeed’s representatives in Islamabad on December 16-17, 2018, and “openly extended” Pakistan government’s support to Saeed and his organisation. The minister reportedly said that nobody was going to target Saeed as long as the ruling PTI party was in power.

Second, JuD opened rescue centres in November, 2018, POK which were inaugurated by a local PTI leader. This, according to Indian authorities, shows open support for JuD which is on the UNSC sanctions list.

Third is the fact that JuD and its NGO Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) ceased to be in the list of banned organisations in Pakistan after the presidential ordinance that proscribed them as banned entities lapsed late last year. This was made possible with the Pakistan government, sources here said, confirming in Islamabad High Court that the ordinance had lapsed and that Pakistan government neither extended the ordinance nor tabled it in Parliament to convert it into a law. Saeed had challenged the ordinance placing ban on JuD and FIF in court.

Fourth, banned terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen leader and United Jehad Council (UJC) chairman Syed Salahuddin in October, 2018, called for Pakistan military support to terrorists active in J&K. This was from a press conference organised by the UJC in Muzaffarabad in the presence of Mohamed Asghar of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Masood Amir of Hizb-e-Islami and LeT commander Dr Manzoor.

Fifth, in September 2018, Pakistan religious minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri shared a public platform with Saeed on September 30, 2018, where both of them made “vitriolic” anti-India statements. Qadri was quoted as having said that he attended the conference by Difa-e-Pakistan Council on Khan’s instructions.

India’s position on terrorism, as spelt out here, effectively means curtains for any hope of a substantive engagement between the two countries before general elections in India. Khan had told a group of Indian journalists in November this year that Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used for terrorism outside. According to the Indian government though, steps taken by Pakistan were only cosmetic in nature.

“JuD and FIF are not banned in Pakistan. They are only under the watch list of NACTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority) of the interior ministry. They can continue legally with their so called welfare activities which they use for anti-India activities across Indo-Pak border,” said an official familiar with the issue.

Khan had recently said in an interview to a Turkish channel that Pakistan’s offer for dialogue was rebuffed by India “just to bag anti Pakistan votes” in upcoming elections.

India had in September last year agreed to a meeting between the foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UNGA before cancelling it 24 hours later apparently because of the killings of Special Police Officers in Kashmir and release of stamps glorifying slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani. However, as many even in India had pointed out then, the stamps were first released in July, 2018.

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