UK panel explores ‘re-imaging’ of Pak

LONDON: A panel of academics and South Asia experts from around the world explored the prospect of “rebranding” Pakistan away from the ideology of jihad and terrorism, with the Pakistani diaspora playing some role in such a move.

London, November 24

A panel of academics and South Asia experts from around the world explored the prospect of “rebranding” Pakistan away from the ideology of jihad and terrorism, with the Pakistani diaspora playing some role in such a move.

“Reimagining Pakistan: A Global Perspective”, organised by the Jammu Kashmir Study Centre UK think-tank and the Indian National Students Association (INSA) in London on Saturday, highlighted that Pakistan’s so-called “jihad strategy” dated back to 1947 when it tried to “forcibly annex Kashmir”.

The panelists were in general agreement that Pakistan risked becoming increasingly isolated in the wake of its recent “grey-listing” by global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF), unless urgent steps were taken and that China could act as a counter-weight, given its own economic interests in the region.

Putting Pakistan on notice, the Paris-based FATF had in October warned it would be blacklisted if it did not control terror-funding by February 2020, voicing concern over the country’s failure to deliver on most of its 27 targets. The FATF plenary noted that Pakistan had addressed only five of the 27 tasks given to it to control funding to terror groups LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen.

Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the FATF in June last year and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist with Iran and North Korea.

“Pakistan has a unique opportunity to reposition itself as a leader in the region. The Kartarpur corridor is a good start...but it needs to rebrand the country away from the ideology of jihad,” said Seth Oldmixon from the Liberty South Asia, an independent group promoting political pluralism in South Asian.

Dr Christine Fair, a Georgetown University professor of security studies with focus on South Asia, said the Pakistani High Commission in London had tried to coerce the venue of the panel discussion into cancelling the event. — PTI

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