Tuesday, 06 December 2022
Wake-up call to Sri Lanka

Wake-up call to Sri Lanka

Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, has for many years now, been attempting to radicalize Sri Lankan Muslims, with a view to using them for its activities in various parts of the world, primarily India.

Towards this objective, it has used its proxy, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its charitable wing, the Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK), which were first noticed operating in Sri Lanka in 2004, after the devastating tsunami. The LeT-IKK contingent, which visited the Maldives and Sri Lanka at that time, included trained cadres under the cover of humanitarian charitable workers, looking for Jihadi recruits in these areas.

Soon thereafter, many of the youth from these areas headed to Pakistan and were found located in LeT training camps in Pak Punjab and the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to Maldivian security agencies, at least 50 Maldivian youth were trained in LeT camps.

The ISI's primary objective is to encircle India from all sides. Using Sri Lanka as a staging post is important, as it enables access into South India, both in terms of funding terror networks as well as for recruitment of cadres.

In June 2009, the activities of Maulana Umar Madani were uncovered, who prior to his arrest in India, was a frequent traveller to Sri Lanka. During his visits, he was developing a network in Eastern Sri Lanka's Muslim areas. Madani was a close confidant of JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed and Abdul Rahman Makki.

Subsequently, in April 2014, following the arrest of Shakirl Hussain, the ISIS's plans to target the US Consulate in Chennai and the Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru were uncovered. This led to the unceremonious recall of Pakistani Visa Counsellor in Sri Lanka, Amir Zubair Siddiqui, who was Shakir Hussain's handler.

Colombo was also used as a transit for terror funding by smuggling fake Indian currency, manufactured in Pakistan.

More recently, a report in the Colombo Gazette dated August 28, 2016, highlighted continued attempts of groups like the Al Qaida, to recruit cadres from Sri Lanka, for the Jihad in Syria.

However, such activities have also led to greater cooperation between the intelligence agencies of the world's major powers. The most recent evidence of this intelligence sharing has been the arrest in Guangzhou (China) of a Pakistani National Faiz Muhammad, carrying fake Indian currency notes of Rs 2.5 million from Pakistan. This individual, who was a regular smuggler of fake Indian currency notes, was also a frequent traveller to Guangzhou, and on this occasion, had arrived from Colombo on August 19, 2016.

Faiz Muhammad's arrest was the result of a tip off by Indian intelligence agencies to their counterparts in Colombo and Beijing.

The continued use of Sri Lanka by such individuals engaged in funding of terror activities, as well as recruitment of cadres for Islamic Jihad in various parts of the world, is a cause of concern, and should serve as a wakeup call to the Sri Lankan Government.

(by M.Thiyarajah – ceylontoday.lk)

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