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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Pakistan: Bluffing its way to exit FATF Grey Listing

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New Delhi, June 22 (Ajit Weekly News) It is not long since Pakistan used China’s clout to block a joint proposal by India and the US to designate Pakistan-based top LeT militant Abdul Rehman Makki as a global terrorist under the UN sanctions committee.

His involvement in raising funds, recruiting and radicalising youths for attacks in India is well known. Pakistan’s continued aiding, abetting and giving safe havens to terrorists is amply clear from its relentless drone drops in Indian borders. It continues to push infiltration and target killings across the border in Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab.

These are sufficient proofs of Islamabad’s failure to comply with the conditions required to exit from grey listing of international watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Despite Pakistan’s failures and misdemeanours in combating terror financing of which India is prime victim, it was unanimously cleared by FATF plenary held in Berlin during June 13-17.

Pakistan Junior Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar revealed on June 17 that Islamabad had largely and substantially completed 34 points of two simultaneous action plans against money laundering and terror financing. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif hailed this as a recognition of the restoration of the country’s international reputation.

However, steps taken by Pakistan including detention of suspects and prosecution of commanders of UN-designated terror groups have been an eyewash. Pakistan army and ISI continue to use these terror outfits to wage a proxy war against India, radicalise the youth in India and facilitate infiltration of terrorists, and supply of explosives and arms and ammunitions. This is not possible without funding of terrorist outfits and their activities.

Old habits, nevertheless, die hard. The jubilation in Pakistan may be short-lived as in the past. Islamabad was able to showcase developments to come out from grey list of FATF in 2015 after four years of grey listing since June 2010 for strategic deficiencies in AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terror) regime. It is the intention and motives that matter more and Islamabad sustained efforts could not last long in the absence of fundamental change in its state policy.

For Islamabad, terrorism has been an integral part of foreign policy, albeit under cover. It is only a matter of time that it gets uncovered.

However, Pakistan would continue to face the grey listing till the next quarter when it would try to secure an international certificate and get out of the list of increased monitoring by the FATF. It is not easy for Pakistan to remain compliant on FATF standards given the nature of the state and its nexus with terror outfits.

Over the past few years, Islamabad filed FIRs and chargesheets against over 40 terrorists including Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar, Yahya Mujahid and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi who have been sentenced to imprisonments ranging from 9 to 30 years in terror financing cases.

The sheer number of terrorists indicted and those who are still out of prosecution net is mammoth and dangerous. Even these convictions are open to further judicial process.

If the way these terrorists enjoy facilities and freedom to address interact and incite their followers is any indication, they will again be back to mainstream as soon as Pakistan gets a certificate by FATF as a clean financial jurisdiction.

So ultimately, Islambabad has managed to bluff the FATF inspectors by lobbying to get a clean chit from FATF. What would matter more is whether Pakistan would quit terror as its state policy. There are few sound reasons to entertain this belief.

–Ajit Weekly News

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