The chargesheet filed by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) against the Pakistan-based leading perpetrators of terror against India — Hafiz Saeed, the head of banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, besides 10 Kashmiri separatists — should energise decisive action against these subversive elements. These colluders against peace in Jammu and Kashmir and their predecessors, have, for decades been conducting their nefarious activities with impunity and must be dealt with sternly now that the Indian government has taken it upon itself to unmask them and bring them to book.
That the Indian conduits were acting under the garb of the Hurriyat Conference only confirms that we continued to ignore a serious conspiracy to wage a war against the state (Section 121 of Indian Penal Code) under successive governments both at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir. The chargesheets have revealed that the subversives used big money to lure even young men and women of impressionable age to indulge in stone-pelting on symbols of authority like the Indian army and the Jammu and Kashmir police to destabilise the Indian system.
The NIA said that the scrutiny and analysis of the documents and digital devices seized from the subversives had established that the accused Hurriyat leaders, the terrorists and the stone-pelters were carrying out terrorist attacks and orchestrating violence in Jammu and Kashmir as a part of their “well-planned” criminal conspiracy. It said that conspiracy was hatched with active support, connivance and funding from terrorist organisations based in Pakistan and its agencies to achieve their objective of secession of Jammu and Kashmir by waging war against the Indian government.
Saeed and Salahuddin have been accused by the NIA of fomenting trouble and transferring money through Hawala networks to the Valley. The arrested included Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh, son-in-law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani; spokesperson of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq-led moderate Hurriyat Conference Shahid- ul-Islam; spokesperson of the Geelani-led faction of Hurriyat Ayaz Akbar and separatists Nayeem Khan, Bashir Bhat alias Peer Saifullah and Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal.
Former JKLF militant Bitta Karate, photo journalist Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmed Bhat have also been named in the chargesheet. With the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF), India, backed by the US and Russia, is set to intensify pressure on Pakistan to step up its fight against terror funding when it holds its plenary in Paris next month. Indeed, India has its task cut out to step up its crusade against the scourge of terror and its financing. Earlier, the FATF had expressed concern over “the continuing activities of the UN proscribed terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Falah-i-Insaniyat in Pakistan and the ease with which they continue to access funds”.
In the face of Chinese intransigence, India has to indeed keep a close watch on efforts to bail the Pakistani government out. It is, however, a matter of some satisfaction that India has moved out of the tendency to mollycoddle the apologists of Pakistani terror as it appears. It must now step up international pressure to get Pakistan to dismantle the terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and to come down hard on terrorists across the border. The recent assertions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on a six-day visit to India calling upon India to cross the border and destroy terror sanctuaries is indeed heartening, but more than that the Americans need to step up pressure on the Pakistanis.
It was reassuring indeed when recently, the US called for Hafiz Saeed’s prosecution “to the fullest extent of the law”, following Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s remark that no action could be taken against the United Nations’ designated terrorist. “There is no case against Hafiz Saeed sahib in Pakistan. Only when there is a case, can there be action,” he said in a media interview. Reacting strongly to the comments, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the US believed that Saeed should be prosecuted and they have told Pakistan as much. “We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
He is listed by the UNSC 1267, the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is a designated foreign terror organisation,” she said and added: “We regard him as a terrorist, a part of a foreign terrorist organisation. He was the mastermind, we believe, of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed many people, including Americans as well.” Acknowledging that the US has had some challenging times with the government of Pakistan recently, Ms. Nauert said the Trump Administration expects Pakistan to do a lot more to address terrorism issues. Early this month, the US had suspended about $2 billion worth of security assistance to Pakistan accusing it of not doing enough in the fight against terrorism. In retaliation, Pakistan suspended military and intelligence co-operation with the US.