High level meeting in Pak to tackle RAW’s activities

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ISLAMABAD: A high-level meet headed by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by top officials from civilian and military intelligence agencies is likely next week to ‘monitor’ and ‘tackle’ the activities of India’s main external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Pakistan. This comes on the back of the recent claims by Pak Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry that RAW was allegedly creating unrest in Karachi. Top Pak military commanders had also accused RAW of “whipping up terrorism” in their country.

On their recent visit to Afghanistan, Nawaz Sharif and the Pak Army chief also asked Afghan authorities to stop RAW from creating unrest in Pakistan. In a report published on Saturday, 16 May, BBC Urdu said, Pakistan’s federal government has decided to convene a high-level meeting under the PM’s leadership to supposedly review evidence of RAW’s involvement in recent incidents of terrorism in Karachi, Balochistan and other parts of the country. The report said the meeting would be attended by heads of civilian and military intelligence agencies as well as other top officials. A day earlier, on Friday, 15 May, Pak Army chief General Raheel Sharif said tough measures would be adopted to halt the activities of anti-Pakistan foreign spy agencies. 

Pakistan’s Express Tribune quotes the report to say that an “interior ministry official also revealed that RAW had intensified its efforts to destabilise Pakistan soon after the recent agreements between Pakistan and China were inked, as evident in the report sent by the intelligence agencies to the ministry.” Although such reports have started to appear with increased frequency in Pakistani media lately, the reports also make it clear that none of those making these allegations have offered concrete proof to back them up. 

On Thursday, 14 May, no less than the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry claimed that RAW was involved in creating unrest in Pakistan. He also alleged that two culprits arrested in Karachi have received training from India’s spy agency. He went so far as to allege that if RAW was found to be behind the Safora massacre which led to the brutal killing of more than 40 members of the Ismaili community, “Pakistan would take up the issue on all international forums.” Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson- Qazi Khalilullah said on Thursday that during their recent visit to Afghanistan last week, the Pak PM and Army chief asked Afghan authorities to stop RAW from creating unrest in Pakistan.

 “Pakistan conveyed its concerns to Afghanistan that Indian spy agency must not use Afghan territory to create instability in the country,” said Qazi Khalilullah. About the alleged involvement of RAW in Pakistan’s unrest, the FO spokesman further said there have been reports of the involvement of Indian intelligence agencies in Pakistan’s affairs in the past as well. 

Regarding the Karachi atrocity in which 45 members of the Ismailia community perished, Khalilullah said: “Investigations are still going on and it is difficult to determine who is behind this bone-chilling incident.” When pointed out that the ultra-extremist Middle Eastern terrorist group, the Islamic State, and its affiliate Jundullah have claimed responsibility for the bus attack in Karachi, the Spokesperson said: “The Islamic State has no footprints in Pakistan but our security forces stand alert to meet any threat.” English leaflets left in the bus were headlined: “Advent of the Islamic State!” and used derogatory Arabic words, blaming the community for “barbaric atrocities … in the Levant, Iraq and Yemen”. However, the Pak FO ruled out the presence of ‘Daish’ in Pakistan. Earlier in February, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry had told a Senate panel that the militant group posed a threat to the country. “The government is on alert to the IS threat in the region,” he had said. It is pertinent that the change of stance has been reflected by Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as well. The minister has summarily dismissed the impression that the self-styled IS group had gained a foothold in Pakistan, saying that peace would be restored in the country at any cost. Around mid-May two men-alleged to be RAW spies were arrested by police in Karachi. A senior officer of the Sindh police also alleged in a dramatic news conference that RAW trained members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) political party to create unrest in Karachi. Calling the MQM more dangerous than the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), SSP Malir Rao Anwar called for banning the party. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s top military commanders had also expressed serious concern over the involvement of India’s intelligence agency, in allegedly “whipping up terrorism” in Pakistan. The concern was raised during a corps commanders’ conference presided over by Army chief General Raheel Sharif at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on May 5.

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