Pakistan rebuked by terror watchdog over terror financing

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 24, 2019 23:49 hrs

[India], Feb 24 (ANI): A Paris-based global financial watchdog on Friday in a stern warning has reprimanded Pakistan for not doing enough to curb terrorism financing and money laundering.

According to the New York Times, the warning reflects renewed scrutiny of Islamabad’s links to militant groups.

The Financial Action Task Force, a global financial watchdog in Paris, suggested that Pakistan could face dire consequences if it does not take specific steps by May, including its placement on the group’s blacklist

According to New York Times, even remaining on the watchdog’s gray list would have consequences which might complicate Pakistan’s ability to raise money on international markets at a time when the nation is neck-deep in debt.  The blacklisting of Pakistan might also invite sanctions from Western countries including the United States.

The warning from the watchdog comes just a week after India took a stand against Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack which claimed lives of at least 40 Indian soldiers. Jaish-e-Muhammad, a terrorist outfit based in Pakistan claimed the responsibility for the attack. According to Indian and American officials, the terrorist outfit operates and raises money in Pakistan under various aliases.

The New York Times quoted a columnist with Dawn (a leading Pakistani daily), Khurram Hussain as saying that the statement by the Financial Action Task Force was its "most strident one" in 10 years.

"It seems like somebody somewhere has run out of patience with Pakistan, and FATF is channeling it. Previous governments have tried to take the same actions to list these groups as terrorist entities and limit their activity but have failed to do so," he said.

It is also pertinent to note that the watchdog’s statement named Jaish-e-Muhammad specifically which is a rare callout for the group. JeM was included in the list with several other terrorist outfits across the globe including the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The statement by the watchdog also provided a list of actions that it demands Pakistan to execute by May. It also accused the local law enforcement of failing to investigate or crack down on terrorists.

The statement read that Islamabad has not shown a "proper understanding" of the risks that terrorist groups pose and needs to undertake "remedial actions and sanctions" against them.

The watchdog also demanded Pakistani authorities to identify cash couriers and prevent them from moving illicit money out of the country. It also demanded that effective action is taken against groups that are prosecuted for financing terrorists and that suspect groups are denied resources to launder or raise money for terrorist activities.

Last year, Pakistan was put on the watchdog’s gray list for failing to act against Lashkar-e-Taiba and its suspected political front, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which was responsible for the ghastly 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

However, Pakistan reinstated its bans on Jamaat-ud-Dawa and another affiliate, which had lapsed earlier, but to no avail, as the task force went ahead to castigate Islamabad insinuating that it was too late for Pakistan to redeem itself.

The Task force's final decision is due by the end of 2019 and Pakistan only has so much time to make efforts to work towards to be removed from the gray list or worsen the situation and move to the blacklist. (ANI)