The international Paris-based watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) just concluded its on-site visit to Pakistan which went on from August 29th to September 3rd, 2022.
The FATF team visited the country to verify the claims made by Pakistan on addressing the action points given by the FATF related to “Terror Financing and Money Laundering”. At the conclusion of the plenary meeting which happened in Berlin from June 12th-17th, the FATF had announced that Pakistan has met all 34 action items and added that the country will be removed from the ‘grey list’ if it successfully passes the on-site visit.
The report of this recent on-site visit will be placed in FATF’s October Plenary session in Paris which will decide whether Pakistan remains in the grey-list or is moved out.
PAKISTAN BACK TO SQUARE ONE?
The grey listing has forced Islamabad to take action against, albeit in limited sense, some of the UN designated terrorist however with possibility of getting out from the grey list now, Pakistan seems to be already heading back to its old games.
Pakistan’s recent action on Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) operational commander Sajid Mir, which Pakistan kept on declaring dead until now, is the result of FATF’s persistent pressure on Pakistan. It also shows duplicity and insincerity on the part of Pakistan to deal effectively against terrorists that reside and operate in the country. It is a well known fact that LeT has changed its name several times in the last two decades and continues to operate in Pakistan. It was known as Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) for sometime now but when that was banned, it reincarnated itself to Falah e Insaniyat Foundation which also came under scrutiny and is now called Allah u Akbar Tehreek.
PAKISTAN’S LOVE FOR JAISH E MUHAMMAD
Will FATF’s pressure make Pakistan deliver on other UN designated persons including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Chief Maulana Masood Azhar? It seems unlikely. Pakistan maintains that Azhar is not present in Pakistan and likely to be in Afghanistan. Despite claims by Pakistan that he is not traceable, he continues to publish articles on Pakistani social media networks exhorting JeM cadres to indulge in Jihad and eulogizing the Taliban takeover of Kabul, claiming that Taliban victory would open avenues for Muslim victories elsewhere.
A banner obtained by South Asia Press that was released by JeM’s student wing “Tulba Al-Marbetoon Pakistan” (Students of Al-Marbetoon Pakistan) claimed to be student movement for geographical & ideological defense of Islam and Pakistan. The banner mentions that a pattern of education should be followed in schools, colleges and universities run with the support of Maulana Masood Azhar, Amir, JeM. It outlines that such a system of education would enable students to attain desired educational goals in future, at the same time keeping the flag of Islam flying high. It invites desirous courageous students who are motivated towards ‘jihad’ and ‘martyrdom’ to join the Student Wing to obtain education under their set pattern of education.
LeT GLORIFYING AFGHAN TALIBAN OPENLY IN PAKISTAN
It appears that despite the FATF retaining Pakistan in its “grey list” for money laundering and terror financing, leaders of Pakistan based proscribed organizations like the JuD and JeM have been able to continue with their activities, inciting youth for Jihad, conducting training camps and seeking donations through banners and social media posts, according to South Asia Press investigations.
In one such recent incident, a Friday Sermon at District Okara (Punjab), on February 18th this year was delivered by Maulana Naser Javed, a central JuD leader. South Asia Press was able to secure an audio file of the sermon, which can be found here.
In the sermon, he claimed that a few days after the fall of the Kabul government and occupation of Afghanistan by the Taliban, a delegation from Afghanistan had come to meet Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Amir, JuD.
Furthermore, Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) is very active on social media in the relief works for floods in Pakistan. It is using social media platforms for seeking donations, which may likely to end up in funding jihadi activities, as reported by another South Asia Press investigation a few weeks ago, which can be found here.
Regretfully, instead of undertaking due actions to counter money laundering, Pakistan has resorted to making unfounded allegations of politicization of FATF. Pakistan’s continued inaction on key compliances of the FATF regime holds potential adverse consequences for not only the security of the region but beyond.