Ahead of FATF meet, Pak resorts to old trick of misleading world

New Delhi, Oct 13 : Facing the prospect of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a desperate Pakistan resorted to its old trick of pretending to act against terror groups recently, just to mislead the global watchdog.

Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Friday said it had arrested four associates of Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed in connection with a terror plot against officers of Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Prior to that, the CTD had claimed to have arrested two terrorists associated with JuD, a proscribed outfit responsible for several attacks in India.

Analysts believe that the Pakistani action, which came just days ahead of the FATF Plenary meeting in Paris beginning on Sunday, is an eyewash as it has done similar things earlier too, to mislead the world community.

During the six-day meeting, the FATF will review whether Pakistan had done enough to curb terror funding and money laundering as it had been asked to do.

The FATF has already placed Pakistan in the ‘Grey List’ for not meeting the required parameters and the country runs the risk of being put in the Black List’ if it is found to have not complied with the mandated steps.

If placed in the ‘Black List’, Pakistan will be denied aid and loan by the international financial organizations like World Bank and IMF.

At its last Plenary in June, the FATF had slammed Pakistan for failing to do enough to check terror financing and warned of action if it did not comply with the requirements by October.

In a statement issued on June 22 after its three-day deliberations, the global body said, “The FATF expresses concern that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019.”

Nearly a month after that, Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department on July 17 said it had arrested Saeed and 13 other top leaders of JuD in connection with terror financing.

Saeed, who is a UN-proscribed terrorist and carries a reward of USD 10 million on his head announced by the US, is currently lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

Saeed, who is the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008, has been arrested a number of times earlier too, only to be released shortly thereafter as the Pakistani authorities never produced sufficient evidence against him in the courts.

This has been done despite India provided several dossiers of evidence to Pakistan about Saeed’s role in terror activities in this country.

Interestingly, while Pakistan claims to be prosecuting Saeed in connection with terror activities, it quietly pleaded his case before the UN Security Council in August for allowing him access to his bank account frozen due to sanctions imposed by the world body.

In a letter to the UN Sanctions Committee, the Pakistan government pleaded that Saeed be allowed to withdraw an amount of 1.5 lakh Pakistani Rupees monthly “to cover necessary basic living expenses for himself and his family”.

Pakistan’s letter said the bank account had Saeed’s pension on account of his serving as a professor for 25 years in University of Engineering and Technology, from where he retired in 1999.

He will be able to access Rs 70,000 for food and Rs 25,000 each for medicines and public utilities.

/IANS

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