New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Pakistan has been deceiving the FATF Task Force by pretending to take action against internationally designated terrorist groups and their financial networks but only on paper, a report said.
In practice, these terror groups continue to function openly and are collecting funds publicly, a report in the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs said.
The report said that as yet another FATF deadline approaches in the last week of February, Pakistan is once again making a show of tightening its AML/CFT regimes to comply with the requirements of the financial watch-dog.
“The cases against and conviction of top JuD leaders has not stopped the activities of the terror group. Even the top leaders are incarcerated only in name. They are able to meet and communicate with their cadres and associates and even direct the operations and take care of the administrative issues of their group. In the case of JeM, there isn’t even the elaborate pretence of taking action, as is happening in the case for JuD,” the report said.
It added that at the same time, a propaganda effort is underway to convince the FATF to not only not push Pakistan into the “black list” but to also take it out of the “grey list”.
“The facts on ground, however, merit Pakistan being ‘black-listed’ for failing to deliver on its high-level political commitments to FATF. Worse, Pakistan has been deceiving the Task Force by pretending to take action against internationally designated terrorist groups and their financial networks but only on paper. In practice, these terror groups continue to function openly and are collecting funds publicly,” the report said.
The report said that even as Pakistan has been making a big show of how it is cracking down on terrorist financing and tightening its regulatory mechanisms to ensure that internationally designated jihadist terror groups like the JuD and JeM are unable to function, the JeM has actually managed to double its fund collection over the last year.
“The JeM has been publicly asking for donations during Eid to make the ritual sacrifice for families of ‘martyrs’ (jihadist terrorists killed during operations), or those arrested for indulging in terrorism. What is more, the JeM has also been soliciting cash donations instead of animal hides because of the crash in price of these hides in 2020 as a result of the pressure of FATF,” the report said.
As per the report, as far as funding goes, the JeM has started a campaign to build 313 mosques and claims that is has already managed to build 93 mosques. The number 313 is symbolically important as it denotes the number of fighters who fought in the Battle of Badr during the time of the Prophet. The battle is supposed to have been critical to the rise and spread of Islam. Jihadist groups have even set up terror organisations called 313 Brigade. The 313 mosque building campaign of JeM clearly indicates that the organisation is able to collect funds and use them despite all Pakistani assurances and commitments to the FATF, it added.
“An even more egregious violation of the ‘high level political commitments’ made by Pakistan to the FATF is the JeM openly collecting funds for equipping the ‘mujahideen’. This solicitation for funds was issued on social media on November 15, 2020,” the report said.