Placed on grey list in 2018, Financial Action Task Force, once again found Pakistan to be uncompliant with the requirements. If Pakistan fails to achieve all the parameters set out by the task force, it is very likely that the country might be placed in the blacklist very soon along with North Korea and Iran. FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
|“A precarious price to pay for myopic vision of reign of terror in the region and beyond”
Paris based Financial Action Task Force has found immense amount of illegal money laundering and terror financing under the state patronage flourishing in Pakistan. The deadline to take constructive measures was however extended by the taskforce due to the ongoing planetary pandemic of COVID-19 and hence Pakistan has been given a new lease of life until mid this year.
The state of Pakistan has to act upon the three key components of the action plan set out by the task force including demonstrating that Terrorism Financing (TF) investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities; and demonstrating that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. Pakistan has to demonstrate an effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all designated terrorists, specifically those acting for or on their behalf. Pakistan has deliberately failed to check the free flow of money to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
As an instrument of foreign policy these terror groups operates, recruit and most importantly has access to huge sums of unaccounted cash to carry out their viscous campaign of terror in the region, which all happens under the watchful eyes of the state of Pakistan i.e the military establishment. United Nations designated terrorists Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Seed (mastermind of the Mumbai manslaughter and massacre of 2008), and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the LeT’s operational commander, operate with impunity inside the geographical limits of Pakistan without any restraints or restrictions placed by international organisations.
The government of Pakistan is in self-denial and continuously harbours and nurtures terror groups which are at arm’s length capable to propagate the idea to bleed India through 1000 cuts, run abated their fundraising campaign in order to sustain their activities. Some eye washing within legal framework regulations have taken place, however they fail to address the key component of the Action Group’s agenda. These includes financial freeze of proscribed organisations like Lashkar e Taiba and Jaish E Mohammed who along with their supremo Hafiz Sayed are insulated by the military establishment of Pakistan.
Recently, the courts of Pakistan has also acquitted the Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl’s killer after he was kidnapped and gruesomely beheaded by terrorists originating from Karachi. The primary conspirator Omar Saeed Sheikh was duly acquitted by the Pakistan Supreme Court, however, this has put an enormous question mark on the international communities radar about the credibility of law and order institutions in Pakistan when it comes to terrorism.
With the continuation to remain in the grey list, there is high possibility to move down to the blacklist very soon. It will become increasingly impossible for Global financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asia Development Bank, European Union to provide any sort of financial aid and assistance to the crumbling economy of Pakistan, which has been hit hard with dwindling foreign remittance from the Middle East in association with the crippling effects of COVID-19.
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Priyajit Debsarkar is an Independent geo political analyst with special interest in the political history of the Indian Subcontinent.