SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW [SAIR]

SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW-Volume-17-No-52-Monday, June 24, 2019

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 17, No. 52, June 24, 2019

ASSESSMENT

•             PAKISTAN: Misplaced Expectations – Ajit Kumar Singh

•             INDIA: Red Resistance – Deepak Kumar Nayak

PAKISTAN

Misplaced Expectations

Ajit Kumar Singh

Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

At the end of the June 16-21, 2019, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meet, Pakistan, as expected remained on the FATF ‘grey list’ along with seven other countries. A FATF spokesman categorically stated, “The FATF has decided to continue to keep Pakistan on its compliance document (i.e. Grey List) for the ICRG [International Co-operation Review Group] monitoring…”

On June 21, 2019, FATF in a release , however, stated that “the FATF expresses concern that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January [2019] deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019”. The release went on to add that “the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plan items are set to expire” and lastly warned, “otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress”.

On June 27, 2018, FATF had decided to place Pakistan, along with seven other countries, on its ‘grey list’. In a release dated June 29, 2018, FATF stated, “as part of its ongoing review of compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identifies the following jurisdictions [eight countries] that have strategic AML/CFT deficiencies…”  It had given Pakistan a 27-point action plan at this stage.

Pakistan had then made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and the Asia Pacific Group (APG) to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies. Pakistan promised that it would work to implement the FATF action in 10 steps, which included:

•             adequately demonstrating its proper understanding of the TF [Terrorist Financing] risks posed by the terrorist groups identified by FATF [Da’esh, AQ, JuD, FiF, LeT, JeM, HQN, and persons affiliated with the Taliban], and conducting supervision on a risk-sensitive basis.

•             demonstrating that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for TF.

•             demonstrating that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities.

•             demonstrating that facilities and services owned or controlled by designated person are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources.

Pakistan had asked for a 15-month time period, to implement all these changes, which finishes in September 2019, so any hope of FATF successfully putting it in the blacklist before September 2019 was unreasonable. It is notable, however, that some media reports claimed that the FATF has given an all clear to Pakistan on only two of 27 action plans it was supposed to complete to get out of the ‘grey list’.

The FATF, as in June 2019, had made a similar assessment in February 2019 as well. On February 22, 2019, an FATF release had stated that “given the limited progress on action plan items due in January 2019, the FATF urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019”.

It is pertinent to recall here that Pakistan was grey-listed from 2008 to 2010 and then from 2012 to 2015, but successfully evaded blacklisting. It will not be a big surprise that it will come out of the ‘grey-list’ again instead of being ‘blacklisted’, even in the absence of substantive compliance.

It is now a fight for diplomatic supremacy between Islamabad and Delhi and that will ensure the status of Pakistan. Pakistan has already made some gains. Indeed, during the June 16-21, 2019, meet, Turkey, Malaysia and China opposed the move backed by India, United States, and the United Kingdom to ‘blacklist’ Pakistan. On June 19, 2019, Jean Francois Caution, the Ambassador of the European Union, thus observed,

We are ready to help Pakistan to come out of the grey list of FATF and it is a matter of fact that Pakistan and its people have made tremendous sacrifices to bring peace and security to the country. We acknowledge these sacrifices with our hearts. Apart from terrorism, European Union is standing beside Pakistan in other important sectors too, including education and health.

Currently the FATF has 39 full members – 37 member countries, who have voting rights, and two regional organisations (Gulf Co-operation Council and European Commission). It is of utmost importance for Pakistani interests that Saudi Arabia, its close ally, which was representing the Gulf Co-operation Council since 2015, become a full FATF member, on June 21, 2019. More importantly, Pakistan’s all-weather friend China is all set to secure FATF presidency on July 1, 2019, taking over from the United States. Moreover, the European Union (15 countries having voting rights are members of European Union) has already promised to drum up support for Pakistan. 

Being on the grey list has had little impact on Pakistan, as foreign funding for Islamabad remains unabated. Reports indicate that, “being added to the grey list does not imply any economic sanctions, but serves as a signal to the global financial and banking system about heightened risks in transactions with the country in question”.

Significantly, even when Pakistan was on the grey-list between 2008 and 2010 and again between 2012 and 2015, it received International Monetary Fund (IMF) ‘bail-outs’. According to IMF data, Pakistan received its first IMF bail-out in 1958, and another 20 bail-outs thereafter: 1958, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2008, and 2013. An amount of SDR 19.38 billion [1 SDR=1.38 USD] was agreed on for these bail-out packages, of which SDR 13.79 billion has been withdrawn.

More recently, as Second Sight noted, announcing the 22nd ‘bail-out’ for Pakistan in, the IMF, in a release on May 12, 2019, stated that “the Pakistani authorities and the IMF team have reached a staff level agreement on economic policies that could be supported by a 39-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for about US$6 billion”. The release, however, went on to add that “this agreement is subject to IMF management approval and to approval by the Executive Board, subject to the timely implementation of prior actions and confirmation of international partners’ financial commitments”. Among other “commitments”, Pakistan is expected to continue “anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism efforts.” Given past history, the approval is all but certain, even without Pakistan fulfilling these commitments. Crucially, the commitment related to terrorism is unlikely to be fulfilled.

The occasional theatrics of putting Pakistan on the ‘grey-list’ or threatening it with the ‘blacklist’, as well as imposing various conditions to provide ‘bail-outs’ will continue. But with no effective and comprehensive sanctions, there is little hope of Pakistani giving up its policy of using terror as strategic asset.

INDIA

Red Resistance

Deepak Kumar Nayak

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

On June 23, 2019, a Policeman was killed by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres at a weekly market in the Mirtur village area of Bijapur District in Chhattisgarh. The incident took place when the assistant constable Chaitu Kadti had gone to the market with his family, when a Maoist ‘small action team’ (typically comprising four or five rebels) suddenly stabbed Kadti with knives, killing him on the spot, and fled. The rebels did not a family member of Kadti, who was also posted at Mirtur Police Station.

On June 14, 2019, CPI-Maoist cadres shot dead five Police personnel who were patrolling the area near Kukru Bazaar under the Tiruldih Police Station limits in the Seraikela-Kharsawan District of Jharkhand. Confirming the attack, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Murari Lal Meena disclosed that the Maoists had encircled the Policemen and shot them dead. The Maoists took away the weapons [two pistols and three INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) assault rifles] of the slain Police personnel. 

On June 2, 2019, a trooper was killed and another four were injured in an encounter between the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and CPI-Maoist cadres in the Taldangal forest in the Dumka District of Jharkhand. Superintendent of Police (SP), Y.S. Ramesh stated that a search operation was going on when Maoists opened fire on the troopers, killing one of them. At least five Maoists received bullet injuries though they managed to retreat into the forest.

On April 27, 2019, two Security Force (SF) personnel were killed when CPI-Maoist cadres fired at a District Reserve Guards (DRG) team near the Tenguda Police camp in the Pamed area of Bijapur District in Chhattisgarh. A Maoist ‘small action team’ first opened indiscriminate fire at them and later attacked them with sharp edged weapons, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP), anti-Naxal [Left Wing Extremism, LWE] operations, Sundarraj P, added that the Maoists later fled into the nearby forest area.

On April 15, 2019, one Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper and three CPI-Maoist cadres were killed in an encounter at Bhutakulha under the Bhelwaghati Police Station limits in the Giridih District of Jharkhand. An AK-47 rifle, three magazines and four pipe bombs were recovered from the site. The CRPF trooper who died has been identified as Biswajit Chouhan. It was further disclosed that he shot down two Maoists in retaliatory fire before being killed in the gun battle. The identity of the Maoists killed in the encounter is yet to be established.

On April 5, 2019, a CRPF trooper was killed and another injured in an encounter with Maoists in the forest under the Saleghat area near Chameda village in the Dhamtari District of Chhattisgarh. The encounter took place a joint team of CRPF’s 211 battalion and the District Force was out on an anti-Naxal operation.

On April 4, 2019, four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed and another two were injured in an encounter with CPI-Maoist cadres in a dense forest area near Mahla village in the Kanker District of Chhattisgarh. The encounter took place around noon, when a joint team of BSF’s 114th Battalion and the District Force was out on a search operation.

According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the Maoists have killed at least 36 SF personnel across India in 2019 (data till June 23). Of these, at least 15 were killed in gunfights, i.e. 41.66 per cent. The number of SF personnel killed in gunfights in 2018 was 35 out of a total of 73 SF personnel killed, i.e. 47.94 per cent.

SFs Fatalities 2010 – 2019*

Year       Total SFs Killed  SFs killed in Gunfights    Percentage of SFs killed in Gunfights

SFs Fatalities 2010 – 2019*

Year Total SFs Killed SFs killed in Gunfights Percentage of SFs killed in Gunfights
2010 267 90 33.70
2011 137 74 54.01
2012 96 59 61.45
2013 103 75 72.81
2014 97 74 76.28
2015 56 43 76.78
2016 60 25 41.66
2017 76 62 81.57
2018 73 35 47.94
2019 36 15 41.66

Source: SATP, * Data till June 23, 2019

Out of a total of 1,001 SF personnel killed by Maoists since 2010, at least 552 were killed in gunfights, i.e. 55.14 per cent.

The percentage of SF personnel killed in gunfights has always been high. A May 2, 2019, report, however, noted that there has been a change in Maoist strategy after the elevation of Nambala Keshava Rao aka Basavaraj (63) to the post of General Secretary of CPI-Maoist:

The Maoists have changed their strategy after Rao took charge. They are focusing on IEDs and not engaging themselves in gunfights. Since last year, every major attack was carried out using IEDs because they are safe and we have no strategy to contain them. The only way to stop IED blasts is to follow the rules of the road in the jungle, which was not followed in Gadchiroli’s case.

Muppala Lakshmana Rao aka Ganapathy, the 71-year-old ‘general secretary’ of the CPI-Maoist, was replaced on November 5, 2018, by his ‘second-in-command’ Basavaraj. The latter is an expert in explosives and military techniques and has a good network with arms traders. The Maoists are, however, not restricted to IED attacks and continue to engage in significant numbers of direct encounters as well.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Minister (UHM) Amit Shah, in a high-level meeting on June 6, 2019, discussed the possibilities of initiating action to choke off the Maoists’ funding sources and to seize the assets of their leaders, in order to contain Maoist activities and movements. It was noted that the Maoists remain a major challenge for the Home Ministry, as a resurgent threat was visible as a result of a regrouping of the rebels in four States — Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.

According to the SATP database, the number of LWE-affected Districts which stood at a maximum of 195 in 2008, had reduced to 81 in 2018. Similarly, the number of fatalities, which peaked at 1,012 in 2009, dropped to 412 in 2018. Meanwhile, according to the latest data made available by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA), on February 5, 2019, at least 90 Districts in 11 States remained affected by LWE violence. The same list had been released earlier on April 16, 2018, by UMHA. Significantly, on January 20, 2012, replying to a Right to Information (RTI) response to the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM), the MHA had stated that 196 Districts in 20 States were affected by LWE violence in 2010.

The Maoists are certainly losing their areas of influence across the country, but they continue to look out for every possible opportunity to fight back.

NEWS BRIEFS

Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia

June 17-23, 2019

  Civilians Security Force Personnel Terrorists/Insurgents Total
INDIA  
Jammu and Kashmir 1 4 8 13
INDIA (Left-Wing Extremism)  
Chhattisgarh 1 1 1 3
Jharkhand 0 0 1 1
Madhya Pradesh 1 0 0 1
INDIA (Total) 3 5 10 18
NEPAL 0 0 1 1
PAKISTAN  
Islamabad Capital Territory 1 0 0 1
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 0 0 1 1
Sindh 0 2 3 5
PAKISTAN (Total) 1 2 4 7
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.

AFGHANISTAN

Nature of hybrid threats in the region are complex, states NSA Hamdullah Mohib: The National Security Advisor (NSA), Hamdullah Mohib, who addressed a conference in Russia on June 19, said that the nature of hybrid threats in the region are complex, and multi-faceted that and it requires serious and collective action to fight them. Mohib said that counterterrorism efforts need to remain a top priority for countries in the region in order to ensure the national security of countries in the region and improve regional socio-economic development. Tolo News, June 19, 2019.

INDIA

Six senior leaders of NSCN-K under custody of Myanmar army, states report: A number of senior militant leaders are currently under custody of Myanmar Army. Six senior leaders of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) and few leaders including ‘home secretary’ of National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Saraigowra (NDFB-S) has been taken into custody. It has been estimated that there are 150 United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) militants and around 100 NDFB-S militants in Myanmar. The operation by Myanmar Army has resulted in surrender of at least 30 militants in 2019. Assam Tribune, June 21, 2019.

50 Naxals eliminated in 2018 in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tells Assembly: As many as 50 Naxals [Left Wing Extremists, LWEs] were killed in 2018 without suffering any loss of life of Police personnel in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told state Assembly on June 20. “In 2018, not a single person from our police force suffered in Naxal attacks. In fact, highest ever in the history i.e. 50 Naxals got killed in a single year in 2018,” Chief Minister’s office was quoted Fadnavis as saying. He also said around 3000 Naxal-related incidents took place in the State in the past 30 years. Newkerala, June 21, 2019.

Infiltrators major threat to security, leading to social imbalance, stated President Ram Nath Kovind: Declaring that his Government is making efforts with complete dedication to provide safe and peaceful environment to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), President Ram Nath Kovind, on June 20, said the illegal infiltrators pose a major threat to our internal security and were leading to social imbalance in many parts of the country as he announced the Government’s decision to implement ‘National Register of Citizens’ on priority. President Kovind described security as utmost important and said all steps are being taken to tackle terrorism. Daily Excelsior, June 21, 2019.

Pakistani spy used bots to lure 98 targets, states report: A Pakistani spy who went by the Facebook nickname ‘Sejal Kapoor’ managed to hack into the computer systems of more than 98 officials from various defense forces and organizations, including the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, paramilitary forces and state police personnel in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Punjab and UP between 2015 and 2018. She “trapped” her targets by showing her videos and pictures with the help of a software malware released from a third-party server hosted in a West Asian country. She was involved in the case related to the leak of classified data on BrahMos missile in 2018. The Times of India, June 21, 2019.

No infiltration of militants in last five months, says J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik: Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Governor Satya Pal Malik, on June 17, claimed that infiltration of terrorists into the Valley has stopped during the last five months, while incidents of stone pelting have also gone down in the period. “Entry of new terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has been stopped since the last five months. Stone-pelting incidents have also gone down. Two to three terrorists are being killed every day now,” the Governor said. Daily Excelsior, June 18, 2019.

 MALDIVES

Global community ‘should help rehabilitate Maldivian jihadis’, says Maldives Mohamed Nasheed Speaker of Majlis: Parliamentary Speaker Mohamed Nasheed has said that the international community should decide the fate of Maldivian citizens living in Syria who want to return home. “We do not know the situation they have gone through. We don’t have the capacity to rehabilitate these people to the extent that they will not have a further impact on society,” Nasheed said.  Maldives Independent, June 18, 2019.

 NEPAL

Government withdraws Guthi Bill: Under pressure from various quarters, the Government on June 18 withdrew the controversial Guthi Bill. The bill, which was registered in the National Assembly on April 30, sparked mass protests in Kathmandu valley as protesters claimed that the bill was against cultural conservation and favoured the land mafia. Minister of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Kumari Aryal informed about the bill’s withdrawal organising a press conference. The Himalayan Times, June 19, 2019.

Destruction of Guthi will lead to destruction of religion, culture and tradition, says Supreme Court: Amid the controversy over the Guthi Bill, a full text of the Supreme Court’s decision released on April 29 stated that destruction of Guthi will lead to destruction of religion, culture and tradition. “The court cannot be lenient towards any act aimed at destroying property of temples and religious sites because that would destroy religion and culture. Democracy cannot be institutionalised in a society where there’s no justice,” reads the decision. The Himalayan Times, June 18, 2019.

 PAKISTAN

FATF tells Pakistan to complete action plan by October: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in a statement on June 21 said Pakistan has until October to improve its counter-terror financing operations in line with an internationally agreed action plan or face actions against it. The FATF, in a statement after a meeting in Orlando of Florida, urged Pakistan to “swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plan items are set to expire.” “Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress,” it said. Daily Times, June 22, 2019.

Army committed to country’s defence, security, says Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa: The Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on June 18 said that the Armed Forces of the country were fully committed to defend the motherland but with the nation’s support. Highlighting internal and external challenges to national security, the Army Chief said that the full spectrum of threat demands comprehensive national response and the Pakistan Army is fully engaged in enabling that response in coordination with other institutions of the State. The Nation, June 19, 2019.

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