International Latest News

India slams China and Pakistan on terrorism at UNSC

New York: Calling out Pakistan for its support for terrorism and China for providing terrorists cover against sanctions, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has unveiled an eight-point plan against the global scourge.

In a speech to a UNSC session — convened to mark two decades since the 1373 anti-terror resolution was passed after the 9/11 attacks in the US — Jaishankar called for “zero tolerance to terrorism”.

The international community must collectively expose and hold accountable those countries that are “clearly guilty of aiding and supporting terrorism, and willfully provide financial assistance and safe havens” for terrorists, he said speaking through a videolink.

Jaishankar did not name Pakistan or China, but he made the references to the countries contextually clear.

“We, in India, have seen the crime syndicate responsible for the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts not just given state protection but enjoying 5-star hospitality,” he said in one such reference that pointed to Pakistan hosting Dawood Ibrahim, the crime boss behind the attack that killed 257 people.

In his eight-point plan, he criticized the double standards advocated by Pakistan and some others and said: “Terrorists are terrorists; there are no good and bad ones. Those who propagate this distinction have an agenda. And those who cover up for them are just as culpable.”

As for China, he referred to “the practice of placing blocks and holds on listing requests without any rhyme or reasons which, he said, “must end because this only erodes our collective credibility.”

Beijing blocked for a decade the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as an international terrorist by a Council sanctions committee. He was behind several terrorist attacks on India.

Jaishankar suggested that the UN increase cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which should continue to identify and fix weaknesses in anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing mechanisms, he said.

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Made in China drones now in Pak’s jihadi arsenal: Intel

New Delhi: Pakistan-backed terror groups and its Inter Services Intelligence have started using bigger drones to expand its capacity to smuggle arms and ammunition across the border in India’s Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, people familiar with the matter said.

Counter-terror officials in Delhi said the terrorist groups and the ISI, which had been using drones for arms trafficking at a small scale over the past few years, had procured upgraded versions of the drones that can carry much larger quantities of firearms in every sortie.

The increased capacity, one official said, was crucial since the high mountain passes on the Line of Control (LoC) are all snowed in to make jihadist infiltration difficult in Jammu and Kashmir. There are multiple intelligence reports, he said, that the Pakistani deep state is using weapon drops in Punjab, which are meant for terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

Latest reports also indicate that Pakistan-based Khalistani groups are also being pushed by their handlers to exploit the farmers’ agitation in Punjab as part of its continuing effort to revive militancy in the border state. These suspicions have been communicated to the Centre and internal security agencies by the State Police time and again.

In Punjab alone, officials said, there have been four Chinese drone recoveries by Punjab Police along with weapons since 12 August 2019 apart from other aerial movements.

But Chinese commercial drones being used to ferry firearms is only one part of the problem. Intelligence agencies have also alerted security forces to stay alert to the threat of the drones capable of carrying loads being used to bomb targets close to the border.

Pakistan’s ISI, inspired by the success of using cheap drones to carry out small bomb attacks, has been exploring this option for terrorist groups. The ISI had laid out its plan first at a meeting with senior Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed commanders in Punjab province’s Taxila in April this year.

Officials said while India is pushing hard to build its anti-drone capacities, the coming two winter months with fog along the border in Punjab and J&K will test the Indian security agencies hard as more drone drops are expected.

Punjab Police, on its part, has asked the Centre as well as the Indian Air Force (IAF) to deploy low-level radars along the border to detect the drones and destroy them. (Hindustan Times)

China, Pakistan ink military pact

Islamabad: China and Pakistan have signed a new military memorandum of understanding to strengthen their defense relationship, as China’s Defense Minister and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Wei Fenghe met Pakistan’s leadership in Islamabad and visited the headquarters of the army at Rawalpindi.

Gen Wei met Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan. He called on both countries to “push the military-to-military relationship to a higher level, so as to jointly cope with various risks and challenges, firmly safeguard the sovereignty and security interests of the two countries and safeguard the regional peace and stability,” Chinese State media reported.

The two militaries signed an MoU following Gen. Wei’s meeting with Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, at the General Headquarters, according to reports in the Pakistani media. Both “exchanged in-depth views on the international and regional situations, the relations between the two countries and militaries, the equipment and technology cooperation and other issues”, a report in China’s official media said.

Details of the new MoU were not immediately available.

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India Latest News

Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed gets 10-year term

New Delhi/Islamabad: Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was on Thursday sentenced to 10 years in jail by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore in two terror-financing cases. 

Saeed is already in jail as in February this year, he was sentenced to 11 years in jail in two other terror-financing cases. At present, he is lodged at Lahore’s high-security Kot Lakhpat jail.

“The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Lahore on Thursday sentenced four leaders of Jamat-ud-Dawa, including its chief Hafiz Saeed, in two more cases,” a court official told PTI. Saeed and his two close aides – Zafar Iqbal and Yahya Mujahid – have been sentenced to 10 and a half years each, while JuD chief’s brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

“Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta of ATC Court No. 1 heard the case No. 16/19 and 25/19 filed by Counter Terrorism Department in which the verdict has been announced after the statements of witnesses were cross-examined by Naseeruddin Nayyar and Mohammad Imran Fazal Gul Advocate,” the official said.

A total of 41 cases have been registered by the CTD against the JuD leaders, out of which 24 have been decided while the rest are pending in the ATC courts. Four cases have been decided against Saeed so far. 

Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.

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FATF to decide Pakistan’s financial fate this month

New Delhi: The global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will virtually meet later this month to deliberate on Pakistan’s compliance with international money laundering and anti-terrorist financing norms.

Sources here said as the ultimate Indian aim of getting Pakistan into the FATF blacklist may not be possible in the current global circumstances. A more realistic target is to ensure that Pakistan remains under the lens by being kept under the grey list.

A beneficiary of successive grace periods, Pakistan at its last assessment had missed 13 of the 27 action points suggested by the FATF. Islamabad has claimed that it has fulfilled the remaining action points and submitted reports to this effect both to FATF and its regional chapter.

India has been straining to get Pakistan slotted in the “black list” of “high risk jurisdictions” which not only imputes global blackballing of a nation but grave difficulties for the country concerned to access funding from international banks.

India has said despite the paperwork done at FATF by Pakistan, the fact remains that it provides active support and sanctuary to internationally listed terror groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Pakistan’s all-weather friend China is expected to provide Islamabad support even though it no longer holds the chair of FATF.

The US, which has weighed against Pakistan at several FATF plenary meetings, may not push the envelope because of the delicate stage of the Afghanistan peace talks. Pakistan needs to get the nod of at least one-third of FATF members to extricate itself from the grey list. (The Tribune)

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Pak-based TRF threatens to kill ‘Indians’ who plan to settle down in Kashmir

New Delhi/Srinagar: Pakistan’s new terror group for Kashmir ‘The Resistance Front’ (TRF) has threatened to kill non-Kashmiris if they try to settle down in Kashmir under the new domicile law of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement which was released through its channels on online messaging platforms, TRF – a front of the banned Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba – “openly” declared that “any Indian who comes with the intention to settle in Kashmir will be treated as an agent of RSS and not as a civilian and will be dealt with appropriately”.

The TRF threat issued on its letterhead, comes weeks after India introduced a new domicile law for the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. As per the new law, any person who has resided in J&K for a period of 15 years will be eligible for the domicile certificate. A student who has studied for seven years and passed Class 10 or Class 12 in the Union Territory of J&K can also apply for the domicile certificate.

TRF in its statement alleged that the new domicile law was an RSS-BJP “plot to change the demography of Kashmir” “hatched whereby RSS fascists will be settled in Kashmir under the garb of civilian cover”.

Incidentally, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has been persistently running a social media campaign against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, using the same rhetoric.

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India Latest News

‘6,500 Pak terrorists among foreign fighters in Afghanistan; LeT, JeM play key role’

New Delhi: There are some 6,500 Pakistani nationals among foreign terrorists operating in Afghanistan and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) play a key role in bringing foreign fighters into the war-torn country, according to a UN report.

The report, from the UN Security Council’s analytical support and sanctions monitoring team and issued late last month, indicated Pakistani terrorists formed a significant part of foreign fighters that pose a serious threat to Afghanistan’s security because of their activities and permanent presence in the country.

Lashkar and Jaish, the report said, have approximately 800 and 200 armed fighters, respectively, co-located with Taliban forces in Mohmand Darah, Dur Baba and Sherzad Districts of Nangarhar Province. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also maintains a presence in Lal Pura District, near the border area of Mohmand Darah, Pakistan, the UNSC team said.

In Kunar Province, the report said, Lashkar retains a further 220 fighters and Jaish has a further 30, all of whom are dispersed within Taliban forces. The UNSC monitoring team said that TTP, Jaish and Lashkar, are present in the eastern provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar and Nuristan, where they operate under the umbrella of the Afghan Taliban.

Even as a number of significant al-Qaeda figures were killed, “the senior leadership of al-Qaeda remains present in Afghanistan, as well as hundreds of armed operatives, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, and groups of foreign terrorist fighters aligned with the Taliban,” the report said.

Relations between the Taliban, especially the Haqqani Network, and al-Qaeda remain close, based on friendship, a history of shared struggle, ideological sympathy and intermarriage, the UNSC monitoring team said.

The Taliban, the UNSC monitoring team said, also appears well prepared for the 2020 fighting season and raising the tempo of its attacks on Afghan government targets while trying to avoid provoking the United States.

India’s External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “This vindicates India’s long-standing position that Pakistan remains the epicentre of international terrorism. That proscribed terrorist entities and individuals continue to enjoy safe havens and recruit, train, arm, finance and operate with impunity from Pakistan with state support. They inflict violence and spread terrorism in the region and other parts of the world.”

The report also highlighted the presence of Pakistani terrorists in the Islamic State’s Khorasan chapter, such as commander Abdullah Orakzai alias Aslam Farooqi, who was captured with 21 others in Kandahar in March. Twelve Pakistani nationals were captured along with Farooqi.

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