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European Commission should justify support to Pakistan: Member of European Parliament

European Commission should justify support to Pakistan: Member of European Parliament

Voicing anger against terror and the state actors promoting it, Member of European Parliament (MEP) Thierry Mariani has questioned the European Commission’s support to Pakistan. In an article in the EU Chronicle, he wrote yesterday that “it is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that protects the money launderer and the source of terrorism financing for which Pakistan is becoming renowned.”

Mariani didn’t mince words in slamming Islamabad. “The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) President Marcus Pleyer insisted at the Plenary press conference on October 23 that ‘risks remain’ as Pakistan fails to comply with all its terrorism financing standards. The plenary retained Pakistan on the grey-list stating that ‘all-action plan deadlines have expired’,” the MEP wrote (<a href="https://euchronicle.com/follow-the-money-pakistans-money-laundering-and-terrorism-financing-trail/">https://euchronicle.com/follow-the-money-pakistans-money-laundering-and-terrorism-financing-trail/</a>).

He not just castigated Islamabad but also Prime Minister Imran Khan: “Pakistan is on the FATF watchlist for a reason—most countries in the FATF membership believe that Islamabad, and the Imran Khan government, have not fulfilled their obligations to curb money laundering and terror financing from its soil. This is the same Imran Khan who recently gave a eulogy to Osama Bin Laden praising him as a martyr. Pakistan remains on the ‘grey list’ despite Imran Khan’s efforts to fool FATF by imposing ‘strict’ financial sanctions on 88 terrorist outfits and their leaders, including Jamaat ud-Dawa’s (JuD) head, Hafiz Saeed, and Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) Masood Azhar.”

Mariani recommended follow-the-money strategy to check the misdeeds of Pakistan and the criminals it supports. One of them is Altaf Khanani, a money launderer involved in drug deals and terror funding. “Khanani was financing and moving money, billions of dollars, for jihadist terrorist groups like al-Qaida, Hezbollah and the Taliban.”

The US Drug Enforcement Administration arrested him in Panama in September 2015 after an extensive manhunt. He was sent to the US and served 68 months in prison. Since his release from prison on July 13 this year, Khanani’s whereabouts are unknown.

“Both Pakistan and Khanani are accused of money laundering and terror financing to militant groups. US officials have long accused Pakistan of supporting militant Islamist groups to use them as proxies to destabilize Afghanistan, Kashmir and the wider region,” the MEP wrote.

Mariani’s recommendation to the European Commission is unambiguous and sound: “the European Commission should justify how and why it is supporting Pakistan—a country which is harboring money launderers, which fund terrorist organizations, all with the knowledge and consent of a government, itself on the money laundering and terrorism financing watch list.”.