March 26, 2016

रॉ फोबीया

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Saturday discussed the issue of Research and Analysis Wing's (RAW) involvement in Pakistan's internal affairs with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is here on a two-day visit, said a statement issued by the military's media wing.

The army chief called on President Rouhani to discuss matters relating to regional security and Pakistan-Iran relations, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.

The army chief while highlighting the challenges being faced by Pakistan, discussed the alleged involvement of RAW in Pakistani affairs, especially in Balochistan, said the statement.

Matters relating to border security and regional connectivity also came under discussion.

According to the handout, President Rouhani "paid rich tributes to the professionalism of the Pakistan Army and its phenomenal achievements in operation Zarb-i-Azb", which entered its final phase last month in Shawal valley of North Waziristan.

The COAS has taken up the issue of RAW's involvement in Pakistan with President Rouhani two days after security forces announced the arrest of a RAW agent in Balochistan's Chaman area.

Identified as Kulbhushan Yadav, the man has been accused of being involved in subversive and terror related activities in Balochistan and Karachi.

Yadav is said to be originally from Indian Navy, where he served as a commissioned officer. In Pakistan, he operated under fake identities and was alleged to have been working with separatist and sectarian organisations.

The government has long accused Indian intelligence agency RAW of sponsoring terrorism in Karachi, Fata and Balochistan.

At a corps commanders meeting in May last year, military’s top brass had unprecedentedly pointed fingers directly at RAW for “whipping up terrorism in Pakistan”.

The arrest coincided with the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Islamabad.

The detained spy is claimed to have entered Pakistan via Iran and was also reportedly having valid Iranian visa.

akistan has had reservations regarding India’s close ties with Iran, particularly the cooperation in regards to Chabahar Port.

Though, not many were paying attention to the timing of disclosure about Yadav’s arrest with President Rouhani’s trip, but the interior minister tipped about that possibility as well.

“We will ask Iran for assistance in probing the matter,” Chaudhry Nisar said.

A disclosure by a security official that the spy had been active in the area since 2013 and had been based in Chabahar left little doubt that the timing of the incident might have been used to underscore Pakistani concerns about Indian involvement in Chabahar port.

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