India

Blacklist fear forces Pakistan to shut 20 terror camps in PoK

Blacklist fear forces Pakistan to shut 20 terror camps in PoK

The fear of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October has forced Pakistan to shut down 20 terror camps inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) this year. Moreover, government data shows that there have been no reports of infiltration and cross-border action on the Line of Control (LoC) this summer.

Top intelligence sources told The Indian Express that their inputs suggest shutting down of 20 terror camps from where Pakistan was sending militants across to Kashmir. This has happened before the FATF meeting in the US in June where Pakistan’s grey-listing continued, sources said, and is likely to remain in place until October when a case for blacklisting Pakistan over money-laundering and terror funding will be taken up by the FATF in Paris.

“We have been able to shift the focus from ML (money laundering) to TF (terror funding) in Pakistan’s case in the FATF and we have all seen the results. Pakistan may or may not be blacklisted at Paris but a serious danger of being blacklisted, along with the economic consequences of continued grey-listing, has forced Rawalpindi’s hand,” sources said.

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According to sources, the biggest evidence of change in Pakistan on terror camps is the fact that there have been “no reports of infiltration and cross-border action on the LoC”. This is the first time in nearly three decades of militancy in Kashmir that cross-LoC infiltration has come to an absolute halt. Sources also contend that this is bound to have a major impact on the militancy in Kashmir where security forces continue to conduct intensive counter-terrorist operations.

Official documents reviewed by The Indian Express, however, display a certain hesitation in seeing this change from Pakistan as a “permanent change of heart”. An official note on the situation in Kashmir states upfront that there are “some inputs regarding activation of launch pads along the LoC”. It further analyses that “inputs regarding presence of terrorists in launch pads indicate Pakistan’s design to attempt infiltration/ trans-LoC operations”.

They have identified a total of 28 launch pads run by Pakistan across the LoC, both north and south of Pir Panjal ranges, from where infiltration attempts could still be made by Pakistan. Depending on the weather and the snowfall, the period from May to October is seen as conducive for infiltration of militants on the LoC.

Sources said the declining intensity of ceasefire violations on the LoC also points to the changed status of activity from the Pakistan side. “Pakistan seeks a de-escalation along the LoC,” sources assert and that is reflected in the calibre of weapons that are being used in ceasefire violations.

On July 9, The Indian Express reported that of the 181 ceasefire violations on the LoC in June, 175 involved small arms firing. There were only six instances of calibre escalation, all of them south of Pir Panjal ranges and the Indian side suffered one fatal casualty in the action.

Overall, security forces have had 71 fatal casualties and 115 non-fatal casualties in Kashmir this year. Out of 71 dead, there are 15 Army men, 48 troopers of the CAPF and eight J&K policemen.