In the run-up to the upcoming meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October this year, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Ijaz Ahmed Shah has made some highly objectionable remarks during an interview to a Pakistani media outlet that is likely to put the terrorist country in a tight spot. In what constitutes a clear admission of how Pakistan has institutionally and deliberately established an extensive terror infrastructure within its country, Shah admitted that Pakistan has spent billions of rupees on banned terror outfit Jamat ud Dawa (JuD). He said, “We have spent millions of rupees on JuD. We need to demotivate the members of the proscribed organisation and bring them down to the mainstream.” Earlier, Pakistan PM had confessed that Pakistan currently harbours 30,000-40,000 terrorists in its territory, during his appearance at the US Institute of Peace, a US-Congress funded think-tank.
Shah, however, claimed that Hafeez Saeed led terror outfit had never hurt Pakistan through its activities. It is important to mention here that JuD and Hafeez Saeed have been responsible for several cross border terror strikes in India. Therefore, Shah’s statement seems to reflect that Pakistan is not concerned about Pakistani soil being used for carrying out terror attacks in other countries. All Pakistan is concerned about is its interests at the cost of international peace and stability in general and regional peace and stability in particular.
Shah also attempted to defend Maulana Masood Azhar, JeM chief and said that a case could not be built against him without any circumstantial evidence. This absurd statement about lack of evidence has been made following designation of JeM chief as a global terrorist earlier this year. Shah’s statement shows the casual attitude of Pakistan when it comes to the issue of terrorism.
What also points towards a sinister conspiracy by Pakistan to immunise terror organisations operating under its patronage, Pakistan’s Interior Minister has disclosed his country’s plans of bringing banned terror outfits into the “mainstream”.
Ijaz Ahmed Shah confessed that Pakistan had facilitated the US and the CIA in training and exporting jihadist terrorism into Afghanistan. He then unveiled Pakistan’s plans to “mainstream” these banned terror outfits. He said,
“This decision by the government will let us control all jihadist organisations and have the rule of law in this country. There have to be no warlords, no terrorists. We have told them that we will not allow our soil to be used for terrorism. But at the same time, it is our responsibility to bring them into the mainstream of life by giving them jobs and other norms and facilities of life.”
Pakistan’s idea of “mainstreaming” terrorism is even more objectionable than its policy of manufacturing and exporting terrorism in the first place. It looks like a sinister conspiracy to ensure that those leading these terror outfits can go unidentified and unpunished.
This could also translate into mainstreaming and closely integrating those running the banned terror outfits in Pakistan into its military and administrative setup. And this is not a mere apprehension. Earlier this year Pakistan had announced a similar plan of mainstreaming terrorists when Pakistan government announced that it would take over “madrasahs” (read terror training camps) of “banned outfits” (read terror groups) and recruit their “members” (read fundamentalist jihadi terrorists) as para-military troopers. This means that Pakistan plans to get rid of all terrorist outfits operating on its soil and the terrorists will then take over their para-military forces. Pakistan will, therefore, be able to boast of cracking down on terror outfits and still export terror into other countries but in the form of ‘state-recognised elements’.
The fact that Pakistan’s interior minister talks of “mainstreaming” banned terror outfits months after the announcement of this bizarre policy raise legitimate concerns about how Pakistan might end up integrating its terror infrastructure into the governmental and military set up. Once Pakistan successfully “mainstreams” its terror outfits, it would become virtually impossible to distinguish between Pakistan’s state elements and terror elements. Such homogeneity would mean that Pakistan would officially end up as a terrorist state.
FATF must take serious exception to Pakistan’s plans of “mainstreaming” its terror outfits instead of cracking down on them. This is probably the first time that a country has openly spoken about spending crores on banned terror outfits in a bid to “mainstream” them.
This exposes Pakistan’s conspiracy of closely integrating terrorism with its state policy and giving a free run to terrorists planning attacks on the neighbouring countries. It seems almost certain that Pakistan’s fears of FATF blacklisting will come true this time around as its interior minister has spilled the beans on his country’s highly objectionable plans.