Cashing in on the latest upsurge in Islamist activities in Mauritius, Pakistan has decided to make the Indian Ocean nation its new outpost for anti-India campaigning. Towards this end, Islamabad is sending retired Army Major General Raza Muhammad, who had closely worked with the Islamist militants during his stint in ISI (2011-13), as its envoy to Port Louis.
The appointment coincides with the "Islamic push" of the government of Sir Anerood Jugnauth as a part of its efforts to consolidate its hold over the minority Muslim community at home and to secure long term financial backing from the Muslim world, particularly Saudi Arabia. A Mauritius embassy is likely to be opened in Riyadh shortly to shore up bilateral ties. Raza has good contacts in Riyadh, where he was on deputation to the Saudi Army, retiring in April 2013.
is not the first such diplomatic appointment for Pakistan nor will it be the
last, since the Army's General Headquarters (GHQ) dominates foreign
policy, and has recourse to proxies to further foreign policy
goals. Pakistan has been regularly posting
military men and time tested sleuths to its diplomatic missions in Asian
countries, particularly Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
diplomat was sent back from Dhaka recently while another was exposed in
Colombo late last year. In the middle of last year, two senior Pakistani
diplomats were expelled from Sri Lanka on charges of aiding terror groups in southern India that had plans to target the US and Israeli consulates. The dubious
distinction of being the first diplomat to be expelled by Bangladesh is held by a Pakistani.
Bangladeshi ties turned frosty after the Sheikh Hasina government put
on trial 'the collaborators of Pakistani army' during Bangladesh's war of liberation in 1971. Death sentences meted out to some members of the
Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), who had helped the Pakistani army carry out systematic genocide improved ties in recent weeks.
Yet, when Assistant
Visa Officer Mohamed Mazhar Khan "secretly met one of his local contacts,"
Dhaka asked him to leave, in what has been described as 'a no fuss exercise'. Islamabad
fretted and fumed but all in low key over the expulsion and the charge that Mazhar
Khan was providing "funds to Muslim extremist groups and running a fake Indian
currency racket". Documents seized from him revealed that he was
in touch with members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), and that counterfeit currency
was being used to fund terror groups such as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen in
incident occurred some three weeks after Bangladeshi police arrested four
suspected members of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, including a regional
IS commander identified as Mohammad Sakhawatul Kabir, according to a German News Agency, DPA
repor on Feb 5, 2015. His three
associates have been identified as Nazrul Alam, a financier, Anwar Hossain, convicted in an explosions case, and Rabiul Islam.
the Dhaka Police that he and his three associates had received training in
Pakistan. "The cell he ran from Dhaka was planning to collect funds and weapons
for attacks on Bangladeshi government targets. The aim of the attacks was to
establish a caliphate in Bangladesh, Shaikh Nazmul Alam, deputy police
commissioner with Dhaka's detective and criminal intelligence division, told
reporters, thus confirming reports about the growing influence of Islamic
State. Last year, Bangladesh police
arrested eight people for their involvement with Islamic State.
The Khan expulsion is significant from another perspective. Investigations by Bangladeshi sleuths show that Khan had run a well-oiled syndicate that regularly pushed fake Indian currency notes (FICN) through the porous border into India's Assam and West Bengal provinces Retired armed forces officers, businessmen, police officers and academics were part of the racket, Khan's accomplice and local hoodlum Mohamed Mozibur Rahman confessed during interrogation. He was in touch with Khan's predecessor at the Pakistan High Commission as well, and travelled 22 times to Pakistan, 11 times to India, 22 times to Thailand in the past decade distributing fake Indian currency, Dhaka media quoted investigators as saying.
was not the first Pakistani diplomat to be declared persona non grata by Dhaka.
That honour went to Irfanur Rehman Raja, Number Two in the Pakistani diplomatic
mission, some fifteen years ago.
According to the BBC, the Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Irfanur Rehman Raja was
withdrawn by the Pakistani Government in December 2000 after his comments on
the Bangladesh Liberation War triggered a storm of protest in Dhaka. He had opened 'old wounds' when he rubbished the Bangladeshi assertion that nearly three million
people were killed in the liberation war, and maintained that the number could
at best be around 26,000. He also refused to apologize for the "War Crimes"
committed against Bangladesh by Pakistani forces during the country's war
of independence in 1971.
political and civil rights groups vociferously demanding his expulsion, the government of Bangladesh lodged a strongly worded protest with the Pakistani Government,
forcing it to withdraw him", BBC reporters Moazzem Hossain (from Dhaka) and
Susannah Price (from Islamabad) said in their dispatch titled, "Dhaka expels
Pakistani diplomat" on Dec 15, 2000. In
the process, Rehman Raja became the first "unwanted" foreign diplomat of Bangladesh.
REVELATIONS IN COLOMBO