NEW DELHI: As Pakistan faces the grim prospect of being placed on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at the plenary meeting of the anti-terror funding body in Paris, Islamabad has ramped up its attempts to deflect attention by raking up the Kashmir issue forcefully across forums.
The recent UNHCR report on Kashmir, which conveniently ignored atrocities in the PoK citing lack of credible data, and the killing of Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari, should be seen against that backdrop, say Indian analysts. On June 14, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released the first-ever UN rights report on Kashmir.
Slamming the report, India’s Permanent Representative at the UN headquarters, Rajiv K Chander, said on June 19 that it was “cross-border terrorism that muzzles the voice of our people” “Last week’s gruesome assassination of a senior journalist and his security officers, silencing a voice of moderation, and abduction and brutal killing of a soldier while on his way home for Eid in J&K are its chilling reminders,” he said.
But Pakistan lapped up the report to try and corner India on international platforms. At a Press briefing in
Islamabad June 21, its foreign affairs spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said, “Shujaat Bukhari’s brutal murder by Indian forces is reflection of the intolerance of Indian state apparatus who wants to stifle freedom of speech and expression. The Indian government remains fearful of international exposition of the brutalisation of occupied Jammu & Kashmir. India can run, but can it hide?”
BC Roy, a former intelligence officer, says the UNHCR report, while clearly prejudiced, serves two main purposes. “One, short term, of deflecting attention from the grey listing of Pakistan by the FATF… But if it is grey-listed, the costs will be huge, particularly for a country which has already sold its soul to China. Desperate pledges are reportedly being made by Islamabad in Geneva in an attempt to stall it.”
Secondly, Roy says, “it also coalesces domestic opinion (in Pakistan) against India and helps the Deep State nominee, a former cricketer turned hardliner, get some traction in the upcoming general elections next month”.
“We are likely to hear a lot more of such nonsense from Pakistan,” says Roy. “But the real challenge will come when China makes requests on their behalf. So far, we have stood firm but in geopolitics, strange deals have often been negotiated in the name of peace.”