Pakistan has been targeting Indian professionals working in Afghanistan in a variety of ways and several of them have been attacked and kidnapped over the past 12 years, the Centre told Lok Sabha on Monday during the Monsoon Session of the Parliament.
The neighboring country has also tried to designate four Indians, who had previously worked in Afghanistan, as terrorists under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said in a written reply to questions raised by Bharatiya Janata Party MP GS Basavaraj. “However, the 1267 Sanctions Committee, based on its internal procedures, has not approved the request,” he said.
Muraleedharan said that several Indians working in Afghanistan were assaulted and kidnapped, adding that Indian Embassy and its consulates have also been attacked. “With the assistance of the government of Afghanistan, India has been able to secure the release of many Indians from captivity,” he added.
In May 2018, Taliban commander Qari Nooruddin had kidnapped seven Indians from Bagh-e-Shamal area of Pul-e-Khumri in Afghanistan. One was released in May 2019, while three others were released in exchange for 11 of Taliban’s top members lodged in Afghan jails in October 2019. The last of them were freed this month, according to Hindustan Times.
Muraleedharan said the international community has taken note of terrorism in Pakistan due to Indian government’s persistent efforts, including activities of internationally-designated terrorist groups and individuals such as Jamaat-ud Dawa, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen, among others.
“International community strongly condemned the cross-border terrorist attack in Pulwama in February 2019,” the minister of state for external affairs said. “Several countries have called upon Pakistan to not allow its territory to be used for terrorism in any manner.”
He added that the European Union, the United Nations and various other countries have condemned those who seek shelter in Pakistan and are engaged in terrorist activities against India. “On May 1, 2019, the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee designated Masood Azhar, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad, as a UN proscribed terrorist,” the Union minister said.
Azhar has been named as an accused in the Pulwama terror attack by the National Investigation Agency and is also wanted in India for several other attacks, including the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Muraleedharan also said that the Financial Action Task Force has kept Pakistan in the “grey list” “due to continuing terror financing related concerns, including with respect to the UN proscribed terrorist entities like LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba], JuD [Jamaat-ud Dawa] and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation.”
Pakistan was put on FATF’s “grey list” in 2018 and given a 27-point Action Plan to implement in order to be taken off of it. In October 2019, the watchdog indicted Pakistan for failing to deliver on 22 out of 27 targets. The task force also warned Pakistan that it would be blacklisted if it failed to achieve the targets by February 2020.
India, which is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, has repeatedly asked Pakistan to take necessary steps to meet international standards in stopping financial crimes. Being on a blacklist of the financial watchdog has the potential to severely cripple and isolate a country financially, which could lead to a downgraded credit rating and denial of loans and developmental assistance. Islamabad’s economy is already struggling with a balance of payment crisis.