‘Intel’ on Masood Azhar safehouse, US-Pakistan deal on F-16, IMF bailout indicators that Pakistan could get FATF reduction?

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dialled his American counterpart to convey India’s considerations over a $450 million pact between US and Pakistan for the latter’s F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment. The identical jets had been utilized by Islamabad in opposition to India after its air drive performed strikes on terror camps working in Balakot (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) in 2019.
The Balakot targets pinpointed by the IAF strikes had been alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps the place terror mastermind Masood Azhar is believed to have indoctrinated trainees. The unconventional Islamist Azhar is believed to function primarily within the Kashmir territories occupied by Pakistan.
Nevertheless, as worldwide stress mounted on Pakistan to behave in opposition to terror on its soil, the nation pointed at neighbour Afghanistan for harbouring UN proscribed terrorist and India’s most-wanted Masood Azhar. The Taliban-led Afghanistan authorities responded sternly saying that allegations with out proof might have an effect on bilateral ties.
Pakistan, which is battling a number of home crises, is making an attempt to claw its method out of the Monetary Motion Job Power (FATF) gray listing since 2018. The worldwide cash laundering and terror financing watchdog wrapped up a hushed go to to Pakistan earlier this month and media studies say that the on-site go to to overview Pakistan’s compliance with the FATF motion plan was facilitated by the USA.

What’s behind US warming to Pakistan?

Though India and US are strategic companions, QUAD members and are additionally now cooperating on the I2U2 grouping, these conversant in US and Pakistan relations imagine that the pact to keep up F-16 jets has extra to it than meets the attention.

Pentagon justified its plan to help Pakistan saying: “This (the $450 million bundle) will maintain Islamabad’s functionality to fulfill the present and future counterterrorism threats by sustaining its F-16 fleet in addition to help American overseas coverage and nationwide safety targets by permitting interoperability in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations.”

Analysts say this gesture may very well be US benevolence for Pakistan sending ammunition assist to Ukraine. Media studies earlier cited movies of “lengthy vary artillery shells, manufactured by Pakistan Ordnance Manufacturing unit Board, being unpacked in Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s Weapon Tracker, a twitter deal with that follows the utilization and seize of Ukraine’s army gear had reported about day by day flights of a UK Royal Air Power Globemaster to Rawalpindi and later related the journeys to weapons present in Ukraine whose packaging and make had been distinctly Pakistani-origin.

Keep in mind, Pakistan has been a significant non-NATO ally since 2002 though currently it has veered towards the China axis which in flip has introduced a ‘no limits’ partnership with Russia.

This uncommon alliance (between Ukraine and Pakistan) can be odd contemplating former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was pursuing a coverage to develop ties with Russia and was slightly inconveniently in Moscow the day the latter invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Khan can be faraway from energy months later in Pakistan’s first profitable no-trust vote. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief has not stopped blaming a “overseas conspiracy” for his ouster since then. He has additionally questioned why India is ready to pursue an impartial overseas coverage however not Pakistan – referring to New Delhi’s oil purchases from Russia regardless of western sanctions.

The Pakistan Army which performs no small function in putting in and casting away the civilian governments is believed to have acted in US pursuits. US observers say that Pakistan Army chief Common Qamar Jawed Bajwa was rewarded with the F16 deal for staying “impartial” throughout the ouster of Khan and for offering army assist to Ukraine.

Some say it may be an acknowledgement for cooperating on the elimination of Al Qaeda mastermind Ayman-al-Zawahiri who was taken out by an American drone strike on 31 July, 2022, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Masood Azhar ‘intel’ an ‘eyewash’

Zawahiri was the successor of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda chief who was behind the 2002 terror strikes on US soil. Laden was killed in Could 2011 by US Special Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which has lengthy been a protected haven for terrorists and their subversive actions.

The JeM chief Masood Azhar is believed to be working his terror manufacturing facility from Bahawalpur in Punjab province however Pakistan’s finger-pointing at Afghanistan may very well be an eyewash to get off the FATF gray listing ‘of disgrace’, to not point out financial hardship.

India believes Pakistan is making an attempt to tug the wool over the FATF’s eyes prefer it did within the Sajid Mir case. The wished terrorist within the 26/11 Mumbai assaults case was declared useless by Pakistan however was later abruptly discovered, arrested, and convicted on terror fees forward of the FATF meet.

Because the October plenary of the FATF approaches, Pakistan has tried to push the narrative of Azhar fleeing to Kabul final yr when the Taliban authorities changed the US-backed regime.

Taliban has rubbished the claims. Its Overseas Ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi stated, “We reiterate that IEA doesn’t permit any armed oppositions in its territory to function in opposition to another nation. We additionally name on all events to chorus from such allegations missing any proof and documentation. Such media allegations can adversely have an effect on bilateral relations.”

This offers a humiliation to Pakistan on a day when India additionally chastised it on the UNHRC saying it was “well-documented” that the most important variety of internationally proscribed terrorists has been working with impunity on Pakistani soil.

It stays to be seen whether or not the US leniencies will proceed regardless of the absence of significant motion by Pakistan to curb terrorism which destabilises South Asia, a area that’s gaining prominence on the world stage resulting from its strategic location and its outstanding financial and technological potential.