Congress is known for always having a soft corner for Pakistan. And this is not just the perception, this is a hard reality which is proved time and again. Today we will reveal one more “To be Blunder” by Congress Government which was backtracked due to extreme pressure of our Security Agencies.
A very senior Congress leader, who is very close to Sonia Gandhi and have handled crucial ministries during the UPA government’s first tenure between 2004 and 2009, deliberately pushed for the opening of a branch of Pakistan’s largest bank, Habib Bank Limited (HBL), in India, despite massive Security concerns. The Security agencies, raised the red flag and somehow managed to make the then government see better sense after a lot of opposition, thus ensuring that the bank was not given permission to function from India.
A Newspaper (The Sunday Guardian) recently filed an RTI with the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking file noting, minutes of the meetings and other relevant documents related to the plan to grant banking license to HBL. However, in its reply, the RBI said that since the “information sought pertains to security, strategic, economic interest of the state and relation with foreign state, the information cannot be disclosed”.
Few Officials who are familiar with the deliberations that took place in the government regarding HBL, said that in 2006, the Pakistani bank sought from the RBI the license to start banking operations in India. “We came to know at a later stage that HBL applied for the license only after it was assured through indirect contacts, that a certain influential minister would help it get the license.
However, the security agencies immediately red flagged the application, as HBL is a well-known front for laundering terror money and has a history of facilitating money movements for terror groups. But in spite of our opposition, the minister kept pushing HBL’s case. Finally, faced with stiff resistance from us, he backed off,” said an official aware of the developments.
Habib bank is known for its connections with Terrorist groups and it provides one of the biggest platform for Terror funding. There are couple of such examples which prove our accusations.
Mariane Pearl, the wife of US journalist Daniel Pearl—who was beheaded by Pakistan based terrorists—sued the Habib bank for “aiding, abetting and providing material support in the form of financial services for the terrorist support organizations”. According to Mariane Pearl, “Habib Bank knowingly conducted financial transactions” on behalf of two banned Islamic charities, Al Rashid Trust and Al Akhtar Trust International. Later, she was forced to drop the lawsuit for unspecified reasons.
Even India’s former National Security Advisor, M.K. Narayanan, in November 2007, said that the Habib Bank was manipulating stock markets to raise funds for terrorism and stated that the bank was involved in moving funds for terrorist purposes.
HBL once again came on the radar of the security agencies after intelligence collected in 2004 suggested that the ISI was providing support to India’s Maoists by using the “friendly” business relations between Pakistan’s Habib Bank and Nepal’s Himalayan Bank. Habib Bank is identified as a funding agency of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI.
“We had documented proof that HBL was engaging in anti-India activities by helping terrorists and Maoists from a time much before the bank applied for the license. In spite of knowing all this, the minister tried hard to help HBL function from India,” the official said.
Sonia Gandhi was a de-facto Prime Minister of UPA Government, and it is very hard to believe that any such development was going on without her knowledge. Now the question is about her intentions here, why UPA government was so desperate to being such a notorious Bank to India?