FATF will now conduct an on-site visit to “check” that the reforms undertaken by Islamabad are “in place” and “can be sustained into the future”
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its deliberations in June 2022, has retained Pakistan in its 'Grey List' but there are bright chances of it being taken off this list in the next FATF meet scheduled to be held in October this year. At the end of the four-day plenary in Berlin, FATF President Marcus Pleyer said on June 17, “The FATF has agreed that Pakistan has substantially completed its action plans at a technical level. In the past few months, Pakistan has demonstrated that it is now pursuing terrorist financing investigations and prosecutions against senior leaders of UN-designated terrorist groups and pursuing money-laundering investigations and prosecutions in line with its risk profile.”
Pleyer also said, “The reforms implemented by Pakistan are good for the stability and security of the country and the region. It will ensure that Pakistan's authorities can more effectively tackle money laundering and funding of terrorist groups.” Later, addressing the media at the conclusion of the plenary session, he said that the FATF will now conduct an on-site visit to “check” that the reforms undertaken by Islamabad are “in place” and “can be sustained into the future.”
Some captured suspected terrorists/collaborators have confessed that the arms, explosives and money seized from them came from their handlers in Pakistan who work for the ISI
Responding to a media query, Pleyer said that the on-site inspection will be done by experts in order to generate “accurate and clear results” to verify that Pakistan has indeed put an end to financing terrorists outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), al-Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation and the Islamic State, as proscribed by the UN.
A jubilant Hina Rabbani, Pakistan's Foreign Minister, tweeted: “Congrats Pak! FATF declares both Action Plans complete. International community has unanimously acknowledged our efforts. Our success is the result of 4 years of challenging journey. Pak reaffirms resolve to continue the momentum and give our economy a boost. Well done Pak Team FATF. Pakistan Zindabad.”
Hina Rabbani's above claims, however, are hollow with Pakistan's continued proxy war on India and Pakistani terrorist being periodically killed in Jammu and Kashmir who are obviously being financed by Pakistan's ISI and Pakistan-based terrorist organisations. It was also reported in these columns earlier how Pakistan's DG ISI Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum is planning to organise terror attacks pan India, which includes financing. Some captured suspected terrorists/collaborators have confessed that the arms, explosives and money seized from them came from their handlers in Pakistan who work for the ISI.
Pakistan's FATF Team head, Lubna Malik saying that the country had made steady progress on all points and also importantly achieved prosecution and convictions against those involved in terror financing and money laundering
Pakistan media quoted Pakistan's FATF Team head, Lubna Malik saying that the country had made steady progress on all points and also importantly achieved prosecution and convictions against those involved in terror financing and money laundering, adding that the country also made progress in taking stern action against the leadership of banned outfits.
Lubna Malik's statement must be viewed in context of reports in Pakistani media that terrorist leaders in so-called jails are accorded red carpet treatment and have no restrictions on their movement for moving in and out or visitors coming to meet them. In fact, terrorist leaders like Hafiz Saeed (LeT) and Masood Azhar (JeM) are advisors and collaborators for the ISI waging proxy war on India.
Though Pakistan has jailed Hafiz Saeed, it has taken no action against Masood Azhar. As per the UN listing, “Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi was listed on May 1, 2019 pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 4 of resolution 2368 (2017) as being associated with Al-Qaida for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related material to”, “recruiting for”, “otherwise supporting acts or activities of”, and “other acts or activities indicating association with.”
Masood Azhar has been on India's priority wanted list and was sanctioned by the UNSC after repeated attempts by China to block the same were overcome in 2019. He heads the JeM and is behind a number of terrorist attacks in India, including the Parliament and Pulwama in 2019.
Why the FATF plenary in June 2022 did not question Pakistan why no action has been taken against Masood Azhar raises a question mark
It is also significant to note that China is blocking listing of Abdul Rehman Makki, Deputy leader of the LeT from UN listing because if Makki is also listed, Pakistan will be forced to take action against him but delay may lead to allowing Pakistan to exit the FATF 'Grey List' in October. Makki is a “Special Designated Terrorist” by the US.
But why the FATF plenary in June 2022 did not question Pakistan why no action has been taken against Masood Azhar raises a question mark. It is a known fact that many international organisation including the WHO and UNHCR are compromised with UN officials amenable to bribes. In addition, are the dynamics of geopolitics and pressures from major global players?
The new Pakistani establishment has held intense parleys with the US and the US too is intent on forging a closer strategic partnership with Pakistan. It is possible that the FATF is being pressured to let Pakistan off the hook. Moreover, the West (including Germany) are also unhappy that India has refused to alter India-Russia trade because of the Ukraine conflict, as demanded by the West. Besides, Marcus Pleyer is a German who took over as the FATF President in 2020, all of which adds up.
As regards the on-site visits by the FATF team to Pakistan, Pakistan should be expected to take them around the mulberry tree with pockets jingling. Isn't that what China is doing to foreign officials and teams (UN included) visiting Xinjiang to investigate the genocide against Uighurs?