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Silent Protests by JKLF: A “Staged” March

 

A March for a Cause

In the latest events happening in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, a silent protest march was organized by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) on Sunday where thousands of JKLF marchers headed towards LoC to protest against abrogation of article 370. The marchers who had gathered in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir planned to cross the LoC to Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, an event unlikely to happen. The JKLF demands an independent Kashmir, free from both India and Pakistan.

Holding aloft flags of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the JKLF, placards and portraits of their leaders, the marchers kept on chanting slogans like “hum lay kay rahengay azadi (we will get freedom by all means)”.

While the protesters have not been making any unwarranted demands nor have there been any incidents of violence, it is hard to say who the mastermind or the funding agency behind these protests? The protests so far seem very neutral and while there were no signs of any fuelling from Pakistan, it cannot be ruled out completely that this whole thing might be Pakistan’s brain child.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalize the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”. New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to accept the reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric. But Pakistan has not been able to stop begging for attention in any and every international forum that it could. After a global humiliation at the United Nations General Assembly last month where Pakistan failed to get any audience , it cannot be said what Pakistan’s next plan of action would be.

Pakistan’s Risk of being Blacklisted

The FATF formally placed Pakistan on the grey list due to strategic deficiencies in its money laundering and terrorism financing regime. Pakistan has been in the watchdog’s grey list since June 2018 for its alleged failure to adequately crackdown on terror financing and money laundering in the country. Last year was not the first time that Pakistan was placed in the FATF’s gray list .The country was on the list from 2012 to 2015 as well. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regional body — Asia Pacific Group (APG) —recently examined Pakistan’s performance on key issues related to terror financing and money laundering at a two-day preliminary meeting in Bangkok, and the results can put Pakistan in great jeopardy.

The cut-off date for Pakistan to show improvement to APG was October 2018 and the Pakistani authorities insisted that they made a lot of progress during the past year, but the final Mutual Evaluation Report of the Asia Pacific Group says otherwise. Despite Pakistan’s claims of having made headway in its fight against militant groups and their financial networks, the FATF analysts insist Pakistan has not done enough. They say its lack of definitive action against known terrorist networks like Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are valid concerns for the international community.

Contrary to the assessment by Pakistan that its overall terror financing risk assessment is “medium”, Pakistan faces significant risk of terror financing both from legitimate and illegitimate sources. The report showed that out of FATF’s 40 recommendations on curbing money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, Pakistan was fully compliant only on one. It was largely compliant on nine, partially compliant on 26 and non-compliant on four recommendations.

 

While Pakistan continues to defend its “futile” efforts of combating terror groups and their financial networks, also emphasizing that it takes FATF requirements and the fight against terrorism seriously, it does not appear that Pakistan has taken any irreversible step to improve its money laundering and counter terror-financing regime.

Considering the current situation, this year’s result which is awaited is definitely hanging like a sword above their head. The stakes are high for Pakistan to be placed in the black list given the country’s lack of notable progress on key demands of the FATF.

Viewpoint

Pakistan has much to lose after the final verdict comes out by the FATF. With no international backing and no funds, it cannot find any other way to fight its battle over Kashmir. Pakistan has always used the approach of waging a covert war against India using insurgents. Only this time it uses innocent locals from PoK. From what can be guessed, it seems like Pakistan is trying to revive its age old strategy of  “bleed India with a thousand cuts”. When all failed on the global front, Pakistan could only reach its covert groups to get the local youth instigated to carry out a march, to look like an uprising by the locals. The poor gullible people of Kashmir bought into it believing it to be an actual uproar for their cause, while unintentionally participating in Pakistan’s nefarious motives. This time the Pakistani government did not even spare the youth of PoK who got involved into this peaceful fight so that it looks like there is no backing from Pakistan, while being the shrewd mastermind behind it.

08 Oct 2019/Tuesday                                          Written by: Saima Ebrahim

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