MEKRAN (Balochistan): Seven soldiers of the Occupying Pakistani Army have been killed on Monday by Balochi freedom fighters in two separate terror attacks in the Occupied territory of the Republic of Balochistan.
According to a statement by Pakistan’s the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Baloch fighters targeted a vehicle of the Pakistan Frontier Corps (FC) in Mach using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), claiming the lives of six Occupying Pakistan Army soldiers.
1 offr, 5 soldiers embraced shahadat as FC South #Balochistan vehicle was targeted with remote controlled IED while returning from patrolling in Buleda, 14 kms from Pak-Iran Border, to check possible routes used by terrorists in mountainous terrain of Mekran. #OurMartyrsOurHeroes pic.twitter.com/mES0jMWRxq
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) May 8, 2020
This is the second major incident involving the killing of Pakistani soldiers during the last two weeks.
Six soldiers had also been killed in a terrorist attack last week while patrolling along Occupied Balochistan-Iran border.
In a separate incident at Kech, another soldier, Sipahi Imdad Ali was killed in an exchange of fire with Baloch rebels.
As per reports, Pakistan’s occupying security personnel were returning from patrolling in Buleda — 14 kilometres from the Occupied Balochistan-Iran border — to “check possible routes used by Baloch fighters in the mountainous terrain of Makran”. As they were returning, their vehicle was targeted with a remote-controlled IED.
Last week, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa had also spoken to Iranian Chief of Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri on the issue of rebel attacks along the Occupied Balochistan-Iran border.
Gen Bajwa also told Gen Bagheri to take action against Baloch separatists, who have allegedly taken up refuge on Iranian soil and attacking Pakistani soldiers.
Gen Bajwa had told the Iranian commander during his telephone call that his army’s nation desires “for regional peace and stability on basis of mutual respect, non-interference and equality”.
Baloch Girl Student, Fiance Abducted, Tortured By Pakistan’s ISI
Gul and her fiance were arrested five months ago in Karachi where they were staying as students.
GWADAR (Republic of Balochistan): A video of a young Baloch woman, Hani Gul, is making rounds on the social media in which she accuses officials of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, ISI, of torturing her and her fiancé at a secret detention centre for months.
“I was kept there for three months and it has been five months that Naseem is under their (custody),” she says in a video taken in front of the Quetta Press Club where dozens of relatives of forcibly disappeared Baloch activists are protesting for the recovery of their loved ones.
Gul says she and Mohammad Naseem, to whom she is engaged, were arrested five months ago in Karachi where they were staying as students.
Both originally belong to Balochistan’s now-famous port city of Gwadar where China is building a controversial deep seaport and related projects to advance its regional ambitions.
Since 2004, thousands of Baloch politicians, human rights activists, journalists, writers, poets and teachers have been picked up in military raids and tortured at secret military detention centres for months and often for years. Hundreds of such victims, since 2009, have appeared dead in Balochistan’s sparsely populated plains and mountains.
Relatives of victims, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Pakistan’s own independent watchdog Human Rights Commission of Pakistan have often blamed the country’s powerful military establishment of such enforced disappearances and kill and dump operations in the resource-rich but backward Balochistan region.
Pakistan’s paramilitary force Frontier Corps has been allowed immense political and administrative powers in Balochistan to curb a Baloch separatist movement which, in part, is violent.
Separatist militant groups, demanding self-rule, have launched successive attacks on government installations and Chinese assets working on the mega China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.
In October 2017, army personnel arrested close female family members of two key Baloch militant leaders, Dr Allah Nazar and Aslam Baloch who was later killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan.
Since then, an increasing number of cases have surfaced in the media and human rights groups’ report where women and children are picked up by the military and kept in secret detention to use them as a leverage against politically and militarily active Baloch nationalists.
Gul says she and Naseem were arrested on May 14.
“They tortured us. They were ISI people. I can recognize their faces if I see them,” Gul says in the video. “They wanted us to admit that we had links with separatist militants, with BLF (Balochistan Liberation Front).”
Some local websites initially reported she was raped during custody, which is not true. The confusion arose because of a Balochi word for torture which can also metaphorically mean rape.
Abdullah Abbas, a Europe-based Baloch human rights activists, who talked to Hani Gul on phone, told local Baloch media that some people read more into her words. “She meant she was tortured. I talked to her personally and she confirmed that she was not raped.”
Gul was released on August 14, but Naseem still remains in military custody and his whereabouts are unknown to Gul or the country’s civil law enforcement agencies. Gul has filed a petition with the Sindh High Court against Naseem’s “illegal detention” and she has a hearing on September 23.
FATF And Pakistan: Doing Same Things, Expecting Different Results
Sans potent sanctions, there is little hope of Pakistan giving up its policy of using terror as a strategic asset.
At the end of June 16-21, 2019, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meet, Pakistan, as expected remained on the FATF ‘grey list’ along with seven other countries. A FATF spokesman categorically stated, “The FATF has decided to continue to keep Pakistan on its compliance document (i.e. Grey List) for the ICRG [International Co-operation Review Group] monitoring…”
On June 21, 2019, FATF in a release, however, stated that “the FATF expresses concern that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January  deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019”.
The release went on to add that “the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plan items are set to expire” and lastly warned, “otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress”.
On June 27, 2018, FATF had decided to place Pakistan, along with seven other countries, on its ‘grey list’.
In a release dated June 29, 2018, FATF stated, “as part of its ongoing review of compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identifies the following jurisdictions [eight countries] that have strategic AML/CFT deficiencies…” It had given Pakistan a 27-point action plan at this stage.
Pakistan had then made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and the Asia Pacific Group (APG) to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies. Pakistan promised that it would work to implement the FATF action in 10 steps, which included:
⇒ adequately demonstrating its proper understanding of the TF [Terrorist Financing] risks posed by the terrorist groups identified by FATF [Da’esh, AQ, JuD, FiF, LeT, JeM, HQN, and persons affiliated with the Taliban], and conducting supervision on a risk-sensitive basis.
⇒ demonstrating that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on the illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for TF.
⇒ demonstrating that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities.
⇒ demonstrating that facilities and services owned or controlled by a designated person are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources.
Pakistan had asked for a 15-month time period, to implement all these changes, which finishes in September 2019, so any hope of FATF successfully putting it in the blacklist before September 2019 was unreasonable. It is notable, however, that some media reports claimed that the FATF has given an all clear to Pakistan on only two of 27 action plans it was supposed to complete to get out of the ‘grey list’.
The FATF, as in June 2019, had made a similar assessment in February 2019 as well. On February 22, 2019, an FATF release had stated that “given the limited progress on action plan items due in January 2019, the FATF urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019”.
It is pertinent to recall here that Pakistan was grey-listed from 2008 to 2010 and then from 2012 to 2015, but successfully evaded blacklisting. It will not be a big surprise that it will come out of the ‘grey-list’ again instead of being ‘blacklisted’, even in the absence of substantive compliance.
It is now a fight for diplomatic supremacy between Islamabad and Delhi and that will ensure the status of Pakistan. Pakistan has already made some gains. Indeed, during June 16-21, 2019, meet, Turkey, Malaysia and China opposed the move backed by India, the United States, and the United Kingdom to ‘blacklist’ Pakistan. On June 19, 2019, Jean Francois Caution, the Ambassador of the European Union, thus observed:
“We are ready to help Pakistan to come out of the grey list of FATF and it is a matter of fact that Pakistan and its people have made tremendous sacrifices to bring peace and security to the country. We acknowledge these sacrifices with our hearts. Apart from terrorism, the European Union is standing beside Pakistan in other important sectors too, including education and health.”
Currently, the FATF has 39 full members – 37 member countries, who have voting rights, and two regional organisations (Gulf Co-operation Council and European Commission). It is of utmost importance for Pakistani interests that Saudi Arabia, its close ally, which was representing the Gulf Co-operation Council since 2015, become a full FATF member, on June 21, 2019.
More importantly, Pakistan’s all-weather friend China is all set to secure the FATF presidency on July 1, 2019, taking over from the United States. Moreover, the European Union (15 countries having voting rights are members of the European Union) has already promised to drum up support for Pakistan.
Being on the grey list has had little impact on Pakistan, as foreign funding for Islamabad remains unabated.
Reports indicate that “being added to the grey list does not imply any economic sanctions, but serves as a signal to the global financial and banking system about heightened risks in transactions with the country in question”.
Significantly, even when Pakistan was on the grey-list between 2008 and 2010 and again between 2012 and 2015, it received the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ‘bail-outs’.
According to IMF data, Pakistan received its first IMF bail-out in 1958, and another 20 bail-outs thereafter: 1958, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2008, and 2013. An amount of SDR 19.38 billion [1 SDR=1.38 USD] was agreed on for these bail-out packages, of which SDR 13.79 billion has been withdrawn.
More recently, as Second Sight noted, announcing the 22nd ‘bail-out’ for Pakistan in, the IMF, in a release on May 12, 2019, stated that “the Pakistani authorities and the IMF team have reached a staff-level agreement on economic policies that could be supported by a 39-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for about US$6 billion”.
The release, however, went on to add that “this agreement is subject to IMF management approval and to approval by the Executive Board, subject to the timely implementation of prior actions and confirmation of international partners’ financial commitments”.
Among other “commitments”, Pakistan is expected to continue “anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism efforts.” Given past history, the approval is all but certain, even without Pakistan fulfilling these commitments. Crucially, the commitment related to terrorism is unlikely to be fulfilled.
The occasional theatrics of putting Pakistan on the ‘grey-list’ or threatening it with the ‘blacklist’, as well as imposing various conditions to provide ‘bail-outs’ will continue. But with no effective and comprehensive sanctions, there is little hope of Pakistan giving up its policy of using terror as a strategic asset.
Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.
Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
Unknown Gunmen Kill Two Pakistani Army Personnel, Injure One in Gwadar, Balochistan
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack at the time of filing this report.
GWADAR (BALOCHISTAN): According to local news media The Balochistan Post, unknown gunmen killed two personnel of Pakistani military and injured another in an attack between the coastal city of Gwadar and Turbat in Balochistan.
The incident happened on Saturday in Dharam, a mountainous area that has seen such attacks in past too.
According to government sources, the attackers opened fire at Pakistani military personnel from nearby mountains and escaped soon after the attack. Pakistani security forces have cordoned off the area.
Balochistan is home to a long-running insurgency by ‘pro-freedom armed organisations’. Skirmishes between these organisations and the Pakistani forces are a daily occurrence.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack at the time of filing this report.
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