Friday, April 20, 2018

Dark days for Pakistan

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Pakistan is still to recover from the drubbing following sensational recent disclosures by Dubai head of general security for the Emirates of Dubai, Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim who candidly stated that Pakistanis pose a real threat to the gulf societies. His acerbic remarks came in the wake of three Pakistanis' recent arrests on charges of drug smuggling.

The security chief even recommended denial of any employment to the Pakistanis in the gulf. While such an outburst has rattled the Pakistani establishment singling out Pakistan and by, implication , giving a clean chit to other Muslim countries like Bangladesh , other Islamic diaspora in the gulf  have heaved a sigh of relief for exposing Pakistan for its nationals' complicity not only in drug trafficking but also in multiple nefarious activities including in arms peddling !

This was perhaps on expected lines as amongst the large number of South Asians living in Dubai and its proximity; it's the Pakistanis alone who earn a bad name for their misconduct and undesirable activities especially for their involvement in illegal and anti social activities.

Almost simultaneously, another severe blow which was dealt on Pakistan was as many as 139 Pakistani individuals and outfits from Pakistan were mentioned in UN Security Council's   updated terror list which was made public on April 3. Notable amongst them included Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed and Al Zawahiri, of Al Qaeda.

These names apart , the list contains the names and details of several activists of the Pakistan based and Pakistan supported terrorists belonging to dreaded Lashkar e Tayibba, Jaish e Mohamed and their affiliates. Proceeding with facts and figures, the Security Council list also states Dawood Ibrahim's pinpointed hideout in Noorabad Karachi and Al Zawahiri's suspected refuge somewhere in Pakistan - Afghanistan borders.

This is seen by the security analysts as a huge embarrassment to the Pakistani polity because despite repeated denials of his presence, Osama bin Laden was located and neutralized well within Pakistan at his Abbottabad hideout in 2011. UN must be having in its possession about Zawahiri's likely presence in and around Pakistan prompting them to disclose the exact location of his hiding. Same holds good for Dawood.

The UN prepared terror list also discloses Dawood's unholy nexus with Mexican drug syndicates and existing mafia groups complicit in arms trafficking, money laundering and other undesirable illegal activities including funding of terror plans. Further, the catalogue released by the UN gives out the names of lieutenants of Hafiz Saeed's media team Haji Mohammad, Yahya Mujahid , Abdul Salaam and Zafar Iqbal. Possibly based on hard intelligence, such precious inputs have been publicly shared. It has definitely rattled the Pakistani intelligence and security agencies that appear red faced because of these disclosures.

Amid the dark patch Pakistan is going through and release of the UN list, Lahore High Court in an extraordinary order on April 5, directed the government authorities not to harass or intimidate Jamatud Dawa ( JuD) chief, Hafiz Saeed till April 23 , that is his next date of court hearing . Hafiz is obviously much emboldened by this order as he had petitioned the High Court alleging that government was interfering in JuD's welfare projects caving in to the pressures from India and the US. It may be recalled that on January 1, the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan had forbidden JuD from collecting donations.

However, this move was an eyewash as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was to meet closer to that date and apprehending that Pakistan would be placed on the watch list, such a hasty decision was taken which of course did not prove productive. Under the given circumstances, April 23 remains crucial to determine future fate of notorious Hafiz Saeed whose activities, linked to terror,  in the  garb of 'welfare' activities stand exposed .

In the meantime, in a separate development, Pakistan foreign minister, Khawaja Asif, has stirred an unnecessary controversy by charging India for inflicting harsh punishment to actor Salman Khan on black buck killings just because he was a Muslim. In the same vein, this irresponsible and immature minister making sweeping allegations, also alleged that Christians and other minorities in India are hugely discriminated.

The Minister has conveniently forgotten that Hindus and Christians in Pakistan as also Ahmedias and Shias , are systematically targeted on flimsy charges of blasphemy ,and many are exterminated and excesses perpetrated by the majority community . It was most unbecoming of the foreign minister to make such uncharitable and unwanted remarks especially at a time when at India's initiative, there are attempts to put an end to the ongoing diplomatic row between the two countries.

Besides, two cricketers, Imran Khan and Shahid Afridi have most recently come down heavily on the Indian security forces for their alleged repressive role in Kashmir.  Pakistani cricketers must know that their own backyard needed to be cleaned before pointing fingers towards India. And, this is not cricket! It's after all a gentleman's game!

Dubai security chief Tamim and the comprehensive UN prepared terror list are not off the mark in their specific and pinpointed allegations against Pakistan on a wide range of allegations including drug smuggling, arms trafficking , money laundering and other organized crimes carried out by the Pakistanis in host countries bringing bad name to their country with profound negative publicity.

Signs are ominous for Pakistan as international community too is coming down heavily on her for not only making the country ill reputed but eroding its credibility which is already in small measure. The country, analysts say, is fragile and threatened with disintegration. It's only a question of time. But till such time, the dark patch remains in Pakistan with hardly any signs of introspection or reform.

The writer, a retired police officer and security analyst, is based in Delhi

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