India may try distraction during high-profile visits: FO.

Byline: Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD -- The ForeAign Office on Thursday warAnAed of possible mischief by Delhi during world leaders' visit to Pakistan and India within the next 10 days.

'We are concerned about the possibility of India seeking to create some distraction during forthcoming high-profile visits to the region,' FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said at a weekly media briefing.

There has been a history of terrorist attacks happening around major visits to the region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's two-day visit to Pakistan began on Thursday, while United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due in Islamabad on Sunday (Feb 16) for a four-day visit. US President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit India from Feb 24 to 25.

Meanwhile, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global illicit financing watcAhAdog, will review Pakistan's progress on the commitmAents made for overcoming gaps in its counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering regimes during its plenary in Paris from Feb 16 to 21. Pakistan is currenAtly on FATF's grey list and the review will determine the country's future status.

Tensions have been running high between arch rivals Pakistan and India since the latter annexed occupied Kashmir in August last year. Islamabad has on multiple occasions over the past few months expressed fears that India may carry out a false flag operation to create a pretext for a misadventure against Pakistan. There have also been several provocative statements by Indian political and military leaders.

'There has been a consistent pattern in BJP government resorting to some provocation or distraction around important international events,' the FO spokesperson said, adding that India could do that again to divert global attention from the aggravating situation in occupied Kashmir and discredit Islamabad's progress towards meeting FATF requirements for getting off the grey list.

The spokesperson hoped for good results at the review. 'We are certainly hopeful and working closely with our partners in the international community in this regard,' she maintained.

An anti-terrorism court had on Wednesday convicted Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed in two terror financing cases. The conviction would help address criticism of Pakistan's record in prosecuting terrorism financing cases.

Meanwhile, the lockdown in Kashmir continues, which has now completed 193 days. Ceasefire...

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