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Former diplomats advise caution over Pakistani intelligence inputs on terror attack


New Delhi: Pakistan sharing intelligence inputs about a major terror strike in Kashmir is a good development but there is a need to be circumspect, former diplomats have said, noting that Islamabad is facing pressure from the US and organisations such as FATF to take concrete action against terror groups.

Former Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry Shashi U. Tripathi said it is a good development but it's too early to get euphoric. 

"Let's not forget it was Masood Azhar's outfit that claimed responsibility for Pulwama. And we know that he enjoys the patronage of Pakistan army and intelligence," she said.

Tripathi said that Pakistan was under tremendous pressure and its economy is in a shambles.

"It is looking at the World Bank and IMF to save it from bankruptcy and it's on the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) grey list," she said, adding that the whole world is aware about its role as "a major hub of terrorism and its support to terrorist outfits operating from its soil."

"The veneer of fighting terrorism while actually nurturing it has been torn to shreds," she said. 

The former diplomat, who has served as Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of India in Karachi, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it amply clear that terror and talks don't go together. 

"He has been consistent in giving that signal. Pakistan knows that henceforth it will not be business as usual. So it will have to take concrete steps to dismantle terror training camps and apprehending terror bosses like Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed to create an atmosphere of trust for talks to begin.

"Hitherto their measures have only been cosmetic. I think once that happens, PM Modi will reciprocate. After all we too want peace in our region for us to develop and ensure a better quality of life for our people," she said. 

"The chances for peace in the region are brighter under Modi than they have ever been," she added.

Former Foreign Secretary Shashank said that the intelligence inputs about a terror strike may also have approval of the Pakistan Army.

"(Pakistan Prime Minister) Imran Khan is still not so strong. It has to be a decision by the (Pakistan) Army and ISI conveyed through Imran Khan. If that is being done, then the government will have to see (if there is) similar information from other sources also. And if they are doing so, it will be a starting point for something," he said, adding that remains to be seen if Pakistan changes its stance on support to cross-border terrorism.

He said if there are positive moves, it will lead to some kind of some kind of backchannel diplomacy.

Shashank said Pakistan is under pressure because of its internal dynamics and the IMF conditionalities are quite harsh on it. 

Former Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood said Pakistan is keen on talks as it feels that no issue can be solved without it.

"Obviously they want talks and they are also under pressure from the US. The US has also issued statements that they need to do much more than they have done so far. So obviously with the US, they would like to demonstrate that they are doing more. With India they would like to put forward that they are trying to act in good faith and India should talk to them," he said. 

"Pakistan is essentially saying that without having any kind of talks, we cannot resolve any issues between us," he added. 

He said one has to go by the evidence on the ground to judge Pakistan's actions. 

"They are under pressure both from the US. They are also under pressure in terms of FATF and they would like to be able to show that they are cooperating to the extent possible," he said. 

An intelligence input about a major terror strike in Kashmir, reportedly shared by Pakistan, has prompted a high alert in the valley, a top security official said here on Sunday.

He said inputs were received about al-Qaeda's plan to carry out the attack in Awantipora area of South Kashmir's Pulwama district, either before or during the Amarnath Yatra beginning on July 1, to avenge the killing of Zakir Musa, chief of Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH), who was shot dead recently in an encounter with security forces.



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