In the coming weeks, the Paris-based money-laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is set to review Pakistan’s performance on countering terror financing. Once again, all eyes will be on whether Pakistan will be 'blacklisted' for promoting terrorism or will remain in the 'grey list' as the financing watchdog meets for its next session in April 2022. Pakistan is on the “grey list” for its failure to address the problem of terrorism financing since 2018.
Every time before the periodic review meeting, Pakistan puts up some facade of compliance by showing that it is cracking down on terrorist financial networks in the country but after the meeting is over, it resorts to the same old tricks.
Last year during the October meeting, Pakistan had lied to FATF that the UN-designated terror chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Maulana Masood Azhar was “missing” and “untraceable”. But in reality, he was seen in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Punjab organising training camps for raising funds for jihad in Kashmir against India. According to Pakistani media reports, Azhar also met Taliban leadership seeking support for JeM’s operations in Kashmir.
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Last month, India’s most wanted terror chief held a public event in Rawalakot, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Over there he claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in Srinagar and also issued appeals for fund-raising for such operations in the future. According to intelligence sources, these meetings were organised by JeM’s PoK chief, Muhammad Illyas.
Pakistan has been claiming that it has taken action against the LeT and its chief Hafiz Saeed.
But the so-called crackdown has not deterred the LeT. According to intelligence sources, its front organization, the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, continues its activities in Punjab and PoK, including fund-raising and recruitment for jihad in India.
There are credible reports that the LeT and JeM leaderships have been in contact with top Taliban functionaries through the Haqqani Network, which is in the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list. Its chief, Sirajuddin Haqqani, and key operatives like Khalil Ahmed Haqqani are UN-designated terrorists and carrying $15 million bounty on their heads.
Recently, the QUAD foreign ministers joint statement singled out the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008, the 2016 Pathankot airbase and 2019 Pulwama attacks for condemnation. While 26/11 attack was carried out by Hafiz Saeed led Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Pathankot air base Pulwama attacks were done by the JeM. both LeT and JeM are UN-designated terror organisations and their chiefs are declared dreaded terrorists.
“While the QUAD ministers refrained from naming Pakistan for Mumbai and Pathankot, Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, was the last major attack mounted by JeM’s multinational terror factory run by Masood, Rauf and Ammar Alvi brothers in Bahawalpur in Pakistan,” says a report in the Hindustan Times.
In retaliation of Pulwama attack, India destroyed terror camps of JeM at Jaba Top in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a surgical strike. Since then, India’s security agencies have killed eight terrorists including the Pulwama bomber, while seven have been arrested. Former Pulwama resident and now a Jaish operative based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Ashiq Nengroo, and the infamous Alvi brothers are still at large.
The LeT and the JeM both are Punjab based groups that have deep links with the Pakistani deep state with the sole objective of targeting India and radicalizing the Indian hinterland through local proxies.
India has been critical of the report on terrorism issued by the UNSC for maintaining silence on UN-designated terror groups, LeT and JeM despite, drawing attention to them.
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