Pakistan not worried over taking action against terrorists, despite remaining in FATF's 'grey list'
Islamabad: Despite remaining on the "grey list" of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan is less worried about the UN-designated terror groups living on its territory amid the US troop withdrawal from neighbouring Afghanistan.
The terrorist groups against whose leaders and commanders Pakistan is supposed to take action include the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation and al Qaeda and Islamic State.
Fabien Baussart in Times of Israel said in his blog that Pakistan must be "hoping" that the FATF's insistence on investigating and prosecuting leaders of terror groups living on Pakistani territory does not clash with the role it wants in influencing the future of Afghanistan.
Pakistan has been providing shelter to several terrorist groups which the FATF wants to be prosecuted and punished. They are also the chief elements impeding the return of peace to war-torn Afghanistan once the United States fully withdraws itself from that country.
The FATF has asked Pakistan to complete three tasks including demonstrating that terrorists financing investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities, demonstrating that terrorist financing prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all 1,267 and 1,373 designated terrorists, specifically those acting for or on their behalf, said the blogger.
Last month, the FATF noted "serious deficiencies" in Pakistani actions to check terror financing. It told the country at the end of the meeting that the FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address as soon as possible the one remaining CFT (counterterrorist financing)-related item by demonstrating that TF (terrorist financing) investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups, he added further.
However, it is difficult for Pakistan to complete the above task in the next three months in the upcoming Force plenary meets in October.
In fact, Pakistan has not been showing much willingness to take action against the leaders of the terror groups, the Times of Israel reported.
Pakistan has to date prosecuted senior leaders of LeT and JuD. LeT leader Hafiz Sayeed is also serving a prison sentence in a terror-financing case. The JeM chief, Masood Azhar, has escaped action so far even though he has been held responsible for several terror attacks. Much of the Afghan Taliban leadership, which lives in Pakistan, is also yet to face any action and it continues to engage in campaigns to raise funds for its terror campaigns. It is also involved in unleashing violence and terror attacks in Afghanistan in a bid to capture territory in the backdrop of the withdrawal of the US troops from the country.
US President Joe Biden has set a deadline of September 11 for the final pullout of the few remaining troops from Afghanistan.
FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer said Pakistan will remain on the grey list till it addresses all items on the original action plan agreed to in June 2018 as well as all items on a parallel action plan handed out by the watchdog's regional partner - the Asia Pacific Group (APG) - in 2019.
Pakistan's consistent failure to combat money laundering and terror financing is directly linked with the way, in which the Pakistani military dominates and manages politics and business both at home and abroad.
Over the past four decades, the Pakistan army has been financing jihad from Afghanistan to the Kashmir Valley. The anti-Soviet jihad of the 1980s, as well as violence in Kashmir, required an uninterrupted flow of capital. This was earned through drug trafficking.
To start with, Pakistan's military and the ISI treated Pakistan as a domestic market for the consumption of heroin. The 1980s saw hundreds of thousands falling prey to a drug culture that was encouraged by the Pakistani military establishment. (ANI)