It’s RAW again | Editorial
Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have successfully busted another saboteur network operating in Gilgit-Baltistan with the financial and tactical support of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of India. According to a report, the so-called nationalist outfit — Balwaristan National Front (BNF) — was found involved in pursuing RAW’s agenda by influencing the people, especially the youth in Gilgit-Baltistan, by spreading secessionist feelings and creating a sense of alienation among them.
The Northern Areas of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan, have recently gained added importance with road and rail network under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passing through the area. The evidences collected in recent years suggest increasing RAW involvement in subversive activities and terrorism in Northern Areas and Balochistan. In March 2016, intelligence agencies had taken into custody a serving Indian Navy officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has admitted to have been managing and running a network to conduct terrorist operations in Pakistan.
Now RAW seems to be employing rather more sophisticated methods in its operations focusing on the leadership of nationalist outfits. It invested heavily in grooming the BNF leadership and the BNF even used its magazine — Balawaristan Times — to propagate its agenda.
The BNF kingpin, Abdul Hameed Khan, came into contact with RAW in 1999 which not only trained him but took care of his family and children’s education. Khan was facilitated to run his own business, was provided substantial financial assistance to build up India’s case against Pakistan at international forums. He was also given the task of carrying out terrorist activities in G-B. The agencies arrested 14 BNF activists after Khan had surrendered in February whereas in charge of the BNF’s student wing, Sher Nadir Shahi, surrendered in March this year. The latest episode indicates that RAW is now trying to mislead youth in areas like G-B and Balochistan by fanning their nationalistic sentiments. This new design of RAW also calls for rethinking on the part of Pakistani establishment to engage itself with people who have genuine grievances, by reducing reliance on military options.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2019.