Pakistan Releases “Proof” of Indian-Sponsored Terrorism: Does it Matter?

18 November 2020 Lindsay Hughes, Senior Research Analyst, Indo-Pacific Research Programme

Background

On 14 November, Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, accompanied by the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Babar Iftikhar, made public at a press conference in Islamabad a dossier that they claimed contained “irrefutable proofs” of India’s sponsorship of terrorism and called on the international community to recognise the ‘rogue behaviour by a state that refuses to adhere to international laws and UN Conventions’. Mr Qureshi announced that Pakistan would present the dossier to the United Nations, to the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and to leading countries. India’s sponsored acts of terrorism in Pakistan, he claimed, aimed to disrupt the peace, destabilise Pakistan’s economy and create political instability.

Providing more than mere broad accusations, Mr Qureshi claimed that the dossier showed a growing relationship between India’s intelligence agencies and UN-designated terrorist organisations, including the Jamaat-ul Ahrar, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Baloch Liberation Army, Balochistan Liberation Front and Baloch Republican Army. He claimed that India had funded those organisations to the tune of around 22 billion rupees (approx. $191 million) over last three years. The dossier provided evidence, furthermore, of the Indian intelligence agencies’ efforts to provide the groups with weapons, ammunition and explosive devices to target religious leaders, political leaders and police officials in an effort to destabilise the country. Mr Qureshi also alleged that the dossier contained evidence of India’s attempts to undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with an intelligence team under the direct supervision of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi working to sabotage it. He claimed also that India had allocated 80 billion rupees (approx. $695 million) to raise a militia of 700 people in Pakistan to disrupt CPEC projects.

Comment

India and Pakistan have traded allegations of such behaviour since they both became independent in 1947, fought several wars since then and witnessed hundreds of skirmishes between their troops along their common border. They have both made public their complaints regarding the behaviour of the other at various international forums. Both have also sought to make their allegations against the other an issue with third parties when entering into, say, an agreement with that party. Thus, when New Delhi signed an agreement with Washington, it would craft into the agreement a direct or indirect reference to allegations of Pakistan’s non-compliance with internationally-recognised behavioural norms. Pakistan would do the same with its own agreements with, for instance, China.

This time, however, Pakistan’s accusations against India are supported, Mr Qureshi claimed, by copies of correspondence, bank transactions and communication intercepts that relate to the financing, training, harbouring of terrorists and weapons supply to internationally-designated terrorist groups. As Mr Qureshi explained:

The [specific] evidence presented by Pakistan provides a concrete proof of Indian financial and material sponsorship of multiple terrorist organisations, including UN-designated terrorist organisations Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Balochistan Liberation Army and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

In a tweet after the conclusion of the press conference, Mr Qureshi wrote:

This one-sided narrative ends today. For too long India has gotten [sic] away with state-sponsored terrorism & cultivating seeds of hatred across the border.

Today we presented irrefutable evidence to the world on Indian state’s insatiable appetite for terrorism, violence and instability, funding banned organisations, arming terrorists, savage attacks on innocent civilians and desperately trying to lobby against Pakistan’s growing global role of peace and progress; India has become a rogue state. It is time the world wakes up to an Indian state that is only incredible in its fanaticism.

India dismissed those accusations a scant day later, with a spokesperson from the Ministry of External Affairs saying, ‘This is yet another futile anti-India propaganda exercise’, and added:

The so-called claims of “proof” against India enjoy no credibility, are fabricated and represent figments of imagination. This desperate attempt will find few takers as the international community is aware of Pakistan’s tactics and proof of its terror sponsorship has been admitted by none other than its own leadership.

It is likely, nevertheless, that India is indeed working with some Balochi groups in Pakistan to cause unrest and to strike at targets such as the CPEC. Doing so would be, in the perception of many Indian analysts and observers, just retaliation for Pakistan’s similar activities in Indian-administered Kashmir and also take the fight to the enemy. A Modi Administration that is very nationalistic is hardly likely to remain a victim and not take retaliatory action as its “surgical strikes” at targets in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and elsewhere in Pakistan have demonstrated.

The point to all of this is that these allegations and counter-allegations have become almost de rigueur. The world seemingly has come to accept that it would be next to impossible to solve the issue of Kashmir, which is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan. Pakistan’s allies, such as China and Turkey, will continue to take its side and, given India’s growing economy and market, those countries that seek to enter into security or trade agreements with it, will back New Delhi.

It is probable that Mr Qureshi’s allegations will go the way of previous ones from both sides.

Any opinions or views expressed in this paper are those of the individual author, unless stated to be those of Future Directions International.

Published by Future Directions International Pty Ltd.
Suite 5, 202 Hampden Road, Nedlands WA 6009, Australia.