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Opinion

Covid-19 Gambit from Pakistan | HT Editorial – Editorials

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Pakistan is using the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) to secure its terrorist infrastructure. First, there were reports that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which in February gave Pakistan just four months to complete an action plan to curb terrorist financing, is expected to postpone a review of measures taken so far. by Pakistan until much later in the year due to the pandemic. On April 20, another report emerged that Pakistan removed nearly 3,800 names from a terrorism watch list for the Punjab province. Of these, more than 1,800 names have been removed since early March, while the international community focused on the Covid-19 pandemic. Counter-terrorism experts also noted that the Pakistan National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) did not cite any explanation for the removal of names, which is standard practice during such removals.

Pakistan’s counter-terrorism practices are notoriously opaque. For years, the NACTA website only maintained a list of prohibited organizations, and officials claimed that maintaining the lists of prohibited persons was the responsibility of the provincial authorities. It is not just the list of terrorists; There is no public domain information about the trial of the seven men arrested for alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. There is also no information on the whereabouts of one of these men, Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman. Lakhvi, after his release on bail five years ago.

It is clear that Pakistan is taking full advantage of the reduced pressure from the world community to combat terrorism at a time when most countries are focused on defeating the pandemic and addressing its impact on their economies. This is embarrassing. Relief from pressure on terrorists comes at a time when Pakistani forces have stepped up shelling along the borders in Kashmir. India will find it difficult to address these issues with other countries as bilateral and multilateral meetings have been halted. The only option now is for India to keep its dust dry to deal with the antics of Pakistan-based terrorists, and to reaffirm its plans to increase the cost to Pakistan by using terrorism as state policy.

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