Pakistan faces TTP, JeM hurdle in exiting FATF grey list

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the UN’s anti-terrorism watchdog, will convene the next month to assess not just the implementation and enforcement of legislation but also the individuals and terror organizations believed to be beneficiaries in Pakistan, according to local media.

According to a daily newspaper, Pakistan is attempting to downplay the TTP’s rebellious rampage against defenseless civilians in the Swat Valley while also persuading the FATF that Masood Azhar, the leader of the JeM, is missing and not being protected on Pakistani soil. FATF has been closely monitoring Pakistan’s track record on the flow of money into terrorist activities since 2018 when it put Pakistan on the “grey” list.

Along with those who carry out their actions in and out of Pakistan in a covert manner, Pakistan must also explain not only Azhar’s involvement but also that of his principal aide, Sajid Mir.

Islamabad has formalised its request for Azhar’s whereabouts by sending a letter to Kabul, which is governed by an unyielding Taliban faction. However, it cannot anticipate any assistance for the straightforward reason that Kabul is under no obligation to support Islamabad and is not subject to FATF scrutiny, according to Islam Khabar.

In fact, the entire Afghanistan-Pakistan region is a hub of terrorism and its tremendous financing, in part due to the enormous amounts of drugs that Afghanistan consistently generates, irrespective of the government in Kabul.

Naturally, both countries refute the existence of any terrorist organisation, even while Al Qaida and the Islamic State of Province of Khorasan (ISPK) members are having a field day.

Since September 2, the TTP has claimed responsibility for nearly 13 strikes in tribal areas, demonstrating its rising influence, ongoing defiance of the government, and covert support from the Kabul regime.

Regarding the TTP’s involvement, the Dawn newspaper (September 14, 2022) cited a discussion in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly during which legislators “pointed to the rising incidents of gun attacks, targeted killings, and extortion in the sensitive area, while it was also said that militants were roaming around freely in parts of the province.”

This month, the FATF dispatched a team to observe how the anti-money laundering regulations were being applied in practise. Pakistani newspapers stated last week that Pakistan’s capacity to execute anti-terror laws remains “poor” after the visit, according to a daily newspaper.

Even if Pakistan complies with 38 out of 40 technical recommendations, the daily newspaper observed in an editorial on September 14, 2022, that Pakistan’s degree of efficacy is “poor” on 10 of 11 anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism targets.

The newspaper demanded transparency regarding Pakistan’s dealings with the FATF because the country “simply cannot afford to ignore this matter, as being put back on the grey list will impact the country’s ability to attract foreign investment and trade freely with the world.” Pakistan is currently dealing with a number of crises.
According to analysts, this is an unreasonable demand that neither the government nor its military advisers are likely to accede to, partly because they are a part of the issue rather than the solution, according to another daily.

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